Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Greenhouse Gases – What Are They And How Can We Mitigate?

By Bala Tikkisetty

Climate change affects all of us and reducing greenhouse gas emissions must be a priority.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are the three main greenhouse gases, affecting the climate by warming the planet.

Carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are considered long lived gases, remaining in the atmosphere for centuries. Carbon dioxide causes sustained warming for thousands of years.

Methane is a relatively short-lived gas that breaks down within a few decades. However, once emitted into the atmosphere it causes a lingering warming effect for a long time after the methane itself has gone. One tonne of biological methane traps approximately 33 times more heat than a tonne of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.

Globally, agriculture is the largest source of anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions, accounting for between 56 per cent and 81 per cent of the total. In New Zealand, agriculture accounts for an estimated 94 per cent of the anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions.

Each molecule of nitrous oxide is about 300 times more powerful than one molecule of carbon dioxide in terms of greenhouse potentiality. Nitrous oxide is both potent, like methane, and persistent, like carbon dioxide.

About 80 per cent of our country’s total nitrous oxide emissions come from urine patches on paddocks. One recent Government report indicated that the nitrous oxide emissions have increased by almost half since 1990.

Increases in emissions from dairy cattle and road transport remain the largest contributors to the growth in emissions since 1990. Over the past 20 years, our farmers have improved the emissions efficiency of production by about one per cent a year.

Agricultural emissions are linked to intensive farming.

In 2018, New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions comprised of 44 per cent carbon dioxide, 43 per cent methane, 10 per cent nitrous oxide and 2 per cent fluorinated gases. The agriculture and energy sectors were the two largest contributors to New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, at 48 per cent and 41 per cent respectively.

Methane emissions are higher on farms with higher stocking rates and higher dry-matter consumption. Some of the options to reduce methane are lowering replacement rates, reducing the dry matter feed per cow, and lowering stocking rates.

Nitrous oxide gas generally comes from the conversions in the soil by microbes of nitrogen in fertilisers, urine and dung. When soils become anoxic, nitrate can be sequentially reduced to nitrous oxide and inert nitrogen. This is called de-nitrification.

Minimising human induced erosion and maintaining good soil quality are essential for maintaining soil ecosystem services such as nutrient and water buffering, productive capacity, assimilating waste and minimising impacts of sediment and other contaminants on water bodies.

Other good practices include optimum cultivation, avoiding over grazing and heavy grazing under wet weather leading to compaction, avoiding under or over-fertilisation, practicing appropriate use of pesticides and other agrochemicals, managing pasture to maintain complete soil cover and careful application of farm dairy effluent to avoid saturation and optimise organic matter.

The options for reducing nitrous oxide could be reducing nitrogen inputs through judicious use of fertilisers, using low nitrogen feeds and improving pasture quality.

Bala Tikkisetty is a sustainable agriculture advisor (technical) at Waikato Regional Council. 

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Rampant Pandering To The Farming Vote

What on earth has happened to the political parties n the centre-right? Once upon a time in the US, the party of Lincoln was a respectable political party before it devolved into the cult of Trump. Here at home, the National Parry used to be able to manage and administer the economic orthodoxy in a reasonably competent fashion. Now it can barely do simple addition and subtraction. Something must have gotten into the water, and not simply out on the farm... More>>

 

Winston Peters Speech: The Gathering Storm Clouds: Ihumatao

Frequently around New Zealand you hear people say that politicians are all the same. It’s a convenient way to dismiss any careful investigation of the truth of that statement. New Zealand First since its inception has been committed to ‘one law ... More>>

ALSO:

National Agriculture Policy: Will Restore Farmer Confidence And Pride

A National Government will reduce regulatory burden and give farmers confidence for the future. Leader of the National Party Judith Collins and Agriculture spokesperson David Bennett announced National’s Agriculture policy in Gisborne today. “Agriculture ... More>>

ALSO:

Shaw: Wealth Tax Not A Bottom Line For Green Party But They Will Push For It

Green Party co-leader James Shaw says one of his senior MPs misspoke under pressure when she said a wealth tax was one of the party's bottom lines. More>>

ALSO:

Government: More Border Exceptions For Critical Roles

The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators. “Tight border restrictions remain the backbone of the Government’s ... More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Last Night’s Leaders Debate

Do political debates change voter intentions, and cause voters to switch sides? According to a 2019 Harvard Business School study conducted across 61 elections in nine countries involving 172,000 respondents, the answer would seem to be a resounding ... More>>

ALSO:

Dunne Speaks: The Election Campaign Just Grinds Slowly On And On

With just over three weeks until the General Election, the release of the first major pre-election opinion poll this week confirmed what was already being reported about this year’s campaign. Although the gap between Labour and National has narrowed ... More>>

Electoral Commission: Candidate And Party Lists Released

17 registered political parties and 677 candidates will be contesting the 2020 General Election Nominations have now closed and the Electoral Commission has released the electorate and party list candidates for 2020 online at vote.nz . Advance voting ... More>>

National: Plan To Restore NZ’s Prosperity

National’s Economic and Fiscal Plan carefully balances the need to invest in infrastructure and core public services while also reducing tax pressure on Kiwi families and businesses. National Leader Judith Collins and Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith unveiled National’s ... More>>

ALSO:

NZ First: Party List

New Zealand First has a proven twenty-seven-year history of bringing balance and common sense to our government. Amid the continued setbacks of COVID-19 restrictions, New Zealand First has once again sustained its profile by selecting a strong team ... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels