Sunday December 15, 2019

UN Considers Nitrogen Pollution As a Big Issue

"Yet the scale of the problem remains largely unknown and unacknowledged outside scientific circles,"

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The U.N. refugee agency says it cannot assess the scale of the current humanitarian situation in these volatile areas because it has little access to these and other regions in Myanmar. Pixabay

Nitrogen pollution is one of the biggest environmental issues faced by humans today and requires urgent action from nations around the world, the UN Environment agency said on Monday.

Its Frontiers report, launched ahead of the UN Environment high-level assembly beginning here on March 11, explores environmental issues that will have profound effects on society, economy and ecosystems, along with some novel solutions.

By scanning the technological and environmental horizons, the report identifies five major topics — synthetic biology, ecological connectivity, permafrost peatlands, nitrogen pollution and maladaptation to climate change.

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Industries employing pet coke and furnace oil emit large amounts of sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide that can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause respiratory problems. Pixabay

Nitrogen is essential for life but excess nitrogen pollution has tremendous consequences on humans and the environment, the report said. In the form of nitrous oxide, for example, it is 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, in addition to the effects of various nitrogen compounds on air quality and the ozone layer.

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“Altogether, humans are producing a cocktail of reactive nitrogen that threatens health, climate and ecosystems, making nitrogen one of the most important pollution issues facing humanity,” the report warns.

“Yet the scale of the problem remains largely unknown and unacknowledged outside scientific circles,” it adds. (IANS)

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EU Leaders Agree Making the 28-member Bloc Carbon Neutral by 2050

EU agrees to become carbon neutral by 2050

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EU aims to become carbon neutral by 2050. Wikimedia Commons

BY VISHAL GULATI

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels have agreed to make the 28-member bloc carbon neutral by 2050.

However, coal-reliant Poland has been given time until June to fully endorse the commitment to implement the agreed EU objective.

Climate experts told IANS for the first time the EU leaders, who met in Brussels on Thursday, came out with a time-frame by agreeing to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050, thereby opening the way to start a discussion on raising the EU’s 2030 climate target as soon as possible.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who is at the UN climate change conference (COP25), said on Friday that he was encouraged by the fact that the European Union decided to move ahead with its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050.

“This example of #ClimateAction needs to be followed worldwide,” he tweeted.

Carbon Neutral
EU’s top priority is to reduce Carbon Emissions. Pixabay

In November last year the European Commission put forward a proposal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, a much needed long-term goal to bring the EU closer to meeting the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement goal and keeping temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Wednesday’s European Green Deal communication indicates that the European Commission will propose a new, substantially increased 2030 climate target by summer 2020.

Now that the net-zero emission goal is endorsed, the EU’s top priority is to adopt a new, increased climate target for 2030 well before next year’s UN Climate Summit, COP 26, in November.

EU leaders invited the European Commission to present a proposal for a new EU 2030 climate target in good time ahead of the UN Climate Conference.

COP26, taking place in Glasgow, is the international deadline by which all parties to the Paris Agreement must submit new and far more ambitious greenhouse gas emission reductions targets for 2030.

However, say climate experts, a couple of concessions were negotiated.

Poland has not been ready to fully commit to the implementation of the objective, but has also not blocked the collective endorsement of climate neutrality by 2050.

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Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe Director Wendel Trio told IANS: “Setting a target of net zero emissions by 2050 is a vital and necessary first step to limit the escalating climate crisis.”

“But to jump-start climate action now in line with the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal, the EU needs to increase its target for 2030, not just for 2050.” (IANS)