How fertilizer in farming is pushing climate change past ‘worst-case scenarios’

Greenhouse gas emissions are at the crux of the fight against climate change.

By now we’re well aware of the effects of carbon dioxide — produced by cars, trucks and factories — and methane — much of which comes from cows in the beef and dairy industries.

But it’s a third, less talked about gas that’s taking an increasing role: nitrous oxide (N2O). A new study, published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature, sheds light on just how much.

“The big conclusion was that nitrous oxide emissions are increasing at a rate that’s higher than the worst-case scenarios specific to that gas,” said Taylor Maavara, a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University’s School of the Environment and co-author on the study.

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