Let's Talk Global Warming

Episode 5: Nitrous Oxide

February 10, 2020 Stevi Season 1 Episode 5
Let's Talk Global Warming
Episode 5: Nitrous Oxide
Show Notes Transcript

Even though it is known as laughing gas, the threat nitrous oxide poses to our environment is no laughing matter. Stronger than both Methane and Carbon Dioxide, Nitrous Oxide is a dangerous greenhouse gas. This episode is about why it is dangerous, where it is coming from, and what can be done to avoid emissions.

Links To Sources:
Nitrous Oxide:
https://www.carbonbrief.org/nitrous-oxide-emissions-could-double-by-2050-study-finds

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases

https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/ghg_report/ghg_nitrous.php

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/11092019/nitrous-oxide-climate-pollutant-explainer-greenhouse-gas-agriculture-livestock

 Ozone Layer:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17698-laughing-gas-is-biggest-threat-to-ozone-layer/

 Agriculture/Manure:

https://academic.oup.com/af/article/9/1/69/5173494

https://theconversation.com/nitrogen-pollution-the-forgotten-element-of-climate-change-69348

https://ucanr.edu/sites/Nutrient_Management_Solutions/stateofscience/Nitrous_Oxide__In_focus/
http://www.ghgonline.org/nitrousagri.htm

 Industrial Processes:

https://www.gasmet.com/applications/emissions/fertilizer-and-nitric-acid-production/
http://wedocs.unep.org/handle/20.500.11822/8489


Music:
“News Theme” by Kevin MacLeod licensed under CC BY. Edited to be shorter but content was not changed. 

Link to Song Profile: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4122-news-theme/

Link to Author’s Profile: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/artists/profile/9-kevin-macleod/

Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

speaker 0:   0:00
Welcome back to Let's talk a little warming. My name is Stevie. Just a reminder. This is a purely informational channel in all of my fax come from verified in dependable sources, all of which you can check yourselves the links In the description of this episode today, we're continuing our talk about greenhouse gases as we move on to the next one nitrous oxide. Or, as you may know, it laughing gas just like the con your dentist or doctor uses. It turns out this seemingly harmless, numbing gas is actually an extremely powerful greenhouse gas that is actively threatening our environment, although today may be the first time you've heard of it. Trust me when I tell you the nitrous oxide is a gas worth knowing about. If you thought carbon dioxide and methane were bad, I hate to tell you that nitrous oxide is much worse. According to carbon brief, nitrous oxide last about 120 years in the atmosphere, which is 12 times as long as methane sticks around. In addition to that, it is nine times stronger than methane and 300 times a strongest carbon dioxide. That threat doesn't stop there, according to new scientists. Nitrous oxide can react with oxygen in the atmosphere to form nitric oxide. Nitric oxide then goes on to damage the ozone layer. The ozone layer is the layer of the Earth's atmosphere that blocks ultraviolet rays from the sun. With a weekend ozone layer, all life on earth will be under severe threat. The biggest source of nitrous oxide is agricultural soil management. In fact, according to the E. P. A. In 2017 swot image, but was responsible for 74% of nitrous oxide emissions. The culprit behind most of the soil management missions is the overuse of nitrogen fertilizers. According to an article from the conversation, The Haber Bosch process made nitrogen fertilizer AH high demand product due to the drastic increase in crop production it caused. However, 50% of the nitrogen fertilizers is lost from microbe metabolize soil decomposed manure when it is used as fertilizer and runoff from fields. According to the Solution Center for Nutrient Management at California University. Nitra fication and deny traffic ation are the two processes that occur when microbes metabolized soil and released nitrous oxide. Nitric vacation is a process where ammonia and ammonium are converted into nitrate. As microbes perform this process, some of the night shift is lost as nitrous oxide. When there is less ammonia and ammonium, the microbes are more efficient in the process and less nitrous nitrous oxide is released. You can think of it this way. If you're taking a test and you know you could get a retest if you do poorly, you wouldn't be a stressed about failing the test. But if there was no retests, you're going to make sure that you do well the first time. In the same way, the microbes are a lot less stressed about living losing nitrous oxide. If there's a ton of ammonium ammonium lying around to make more with. But when there's less ammonia ammonium, the microbes are speaking super careful, careful and not letting any nitrous oxide getaway deny. Traffic ation is a similar process, where microbes naturally convert nitrate into harmless nitrogen gas, which can then be admitted safely into the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide is emitted when this process takes place near the surface of the soil, and nitrous oxide is released before microbes can convert it into nitrogen gas, According to Oxford Academic. The same thing happens when manure is used as fertilizer, nitrogen has found naturally in the manure, causing both nitro vacation and denied certification to occur even more. In addition, runoff from fields is an indirect emission source as heavy rain, especially after heavy fertilizer application, can lead to fertilizer and the nitrous oxide producing the soil because of it winding up in storm drains and in waterways. As this water is exposed to air in evaporation occurs this fertilizer and nitrous oxide is evaporated into the atmosphere. What started as extra fertilizer becomes extra pollutants in the water and the atmosphere. Scientists have made major headway in research regarding nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture. According to the conversation. In the Nutrient Management Solutions, night replication inhibitors, as well as some tropical grasses, are being used to minimize emissions from dean identification and nitric fication to attack unintentional emissions due to run off. The Oxford Academic recommends that fertilizer shouldn't be used during a heavy rain season or before rain, and that fertilizer shouldn't be used in over abundance and on Lee as much as it is needed. Now let's get back to our favorite topic poop. Oxford Academic tells us that manure in itself also emits nitrous oxide as a decomposes and waste facilities and out in the open. The problems researchers face with manure is that it releases methane and nitrous oxide, methane and nitrous oxide working opposite Wade's. So if you avoid the release of one, you often increase the release of the other. So trying to manipulate the diets of animals can be tricky. Much more effective. Strategies for dealing with nitrous oxide emissions include frequently removing manure from stables and transporting it to storage facilities where it could be quickly treated. If this idea is used in manure is quickly treated before it can release emissions. Oxford Academic predicts that it could reduce 55% of methane emissions and 41% of nitrous oxide emissions. Thes researchers and others have come up with even more ways to minimize these emissions. Energy sources are also major nitrous oxide emission sources. Nitrous oxide comes from both stationary combustion energy and mobile combustion energy sources. According to Climate Change Connection, stationary combustion is the use of fossil fuels to heat buildings, produce electricity and extract oil, coal and gas. Mobile sources come from transportation, including planes and cars, according to the E P a. Thes two sources of emissions together accounted for 13% of total nitrous oxide emissions in 2017 with stationery combustion releasing 8% and transportation releasing 5%. Thes emissions can be minimized by replacing the fossil. Fuel is used to power these energy sources with clean energy sources such as solar and wind energy. In another episode, we're going to discuss these fossil fuels and they're much cleaner replacements. Further, another source of nitrous oxide is industrial processes, especially from the production of nitric and at epic acid, according to the United Nations Environment Program. Nitric acid is used mostly in nitrogen based fertilizers, but it's also used to produce at epic acid explosives, metal etching and for processing. Ferris metals, such as steel in pig are adequate. Acid is used to manufacture in the manufacture of nylon and plastics. Nitric acid is produced in a process called the Ostwald process. According to gas mutt, the austral process starts with ammonia when ammonia is combined with oxygen to form nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, then the nitrogen dioxide is absorbed by water, forming nitric acid. Nitric oxides, nitrous oxide and ammonia are released as a waste product of this process. None of these are good for the environment, according to the United Nations Environment Program. The problem with these emissions is that you're dealing with both nitrous oxide and nitric oxide. Notice that even though they sound alike, nitric oxide and nitrous oxide are different on a chemical level, resulting in them having different characteristics. Nitric oxides, if you remember from earlier, tremendously damaged the ozone layer. Many of these nitrogen plants are not only looking for ways to minimize the nitrous oxide missions. They're also looking for ways to lessen nitric oxide emissions, too. One solution being utilizes the use of a different kind of catalyst called in irons alike. Cap Catalyst A catalyst is a material that speeds up a chemical reaction. The irons L I catalyst does the same job any other catalysts, while also avoiding 98 to 99% of nitrous oxide emissions and reducing the nitric oxide emissions tremendously, too. The bigger push, however, is too conservatively. Use connection based fertilizers and not over fertilize fields, as well as to reuse and recycle materials so that less materials have to be produced. But there's more nitrous oxide emissions. On top of this with Adam Pick acids, according to the United Nations Environment Program, add a big assets are produced by combining oxygen in nitric acid into a key tone alcohol mixture. That reaction produces nitrous oxide as a waste product. The most common solution for these emissions is implementing processes that convert the nitrous oxide into harmless nitrogen gas and oxygen. Thanks to lots of research, there has been significant reduction of industrial emissions. However, they still resulted in 6% of nitrous oxide emissions, despite the fact that most of the technology that would minimize emissions has been out there for several years. This is just another reason why we need to take proactive action towards a global warming free future. Climate change isn't going down without a fight, and the longer we wait to fight, the stronger and worst climate change will become, according to inside Clemen use as no tricks. As nitrous oxide has been researched more as it has become more of an environmental threat. Scientists have discovered that nitrous oxide like methane, is being emitted from melting permafrost at a rate 12 times what they had predicted before. The Arctic forms two times faster than the rest of the Earth, resulting in rapidly melting ice that hasn't melted in millions of years. Under that ice, there is an unprecedented amount of greenhouse gases, especially the dangerous methane and nitrous oxide. In another episode, I'm going to talk about this phenomenon even more from this episode. I hope you can see once again that the fights in climate change isn't all about carbon dioxide. In order to make a difference, we must have changed in all sectors of industry, not just the ones that are popular. We're going to have to change everything, not just what we're willing to change. And it all starts here. Education about climate change is the first step to making a difference in the fight against global warming. If you have any questions, or if there's a climate change topic youth like me to talk about, don't forget to comment on the instagram post associated with this episode. And if you haven't already subscribe to this podcast and follow me on Instagram at talking underscore about underscore global underscore warming, spread the word about this channel so that more people can be informed about global warming and we could take true steps time saving our world from climate change. Thanks for listening