Reducing nitrous oxide emissions from the global food system

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The global food system is a main source of nitrous oxide (N2O), estimated at 4.1–4.4 Tg N2O-N for 2010. Here, we review this source and assess its mitigation potential. Five mitigation strategies were explored and compared to a ‘business as usual’ (BAU) scenario: firstly, improved crop production; secondly, improved animal production; thirdly, improved manure management; fourthly improved food utilization; and finally, less animal-derived protein in diets. In the BAU scenario, emissions increased to 6.4 Tg for 2030 and 7.5 Tg for 2050. Emission reduction strategies could potentially reduce emissions to 4.1 Tg in 2030 and to 3.3 Tg in 2050, but there is considerable uncertainty in these estimates. In conclusion, packages of coherent strategies may offset the projected increases in N2O emissions from the global food system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-64
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • phosphorus use efficiencies
  • greenhouse-gas emissions
  • n2o emissions
  • environmental-quality
  • fertilizer nitrogen
  • agricultural soils
  • management
  • china
  • crops
  • mitigation


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