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10 times more nitrogen emitted by high-income nations compared to poor nations

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New Delhi | Wednesday, Jan 27 2016 IST
The first-ever global nitrogen footprint, encompassing 188 countries, has found the United States, China, India and Brazil are responsible for 46 per cent of the world's nitrogen emissions.The international collaboration, led by the University of Sydney's Integrated Sustainability Analysis team in the Faculty of Science, found that while the developed nations were largely responsible for emissions abroad for their massive consumption, developing countries tend to embody large amounts of nitrogen emissions from their exports of food, textiles and clothing.Australia is one of the few wealthy nations that is a net exporter of nitrogen, because of its substantial agriculture industry.PhD candidate Ms Arunima Malik, who co-authored the paper with University of Sydney colleagues Professor Manfred Lenzen and Dr Arne Geschke, as well as two researchers from Yokohama National University and one from Kyushu University in Japan, said significant nitrogen net importers were almost exclusively developed economies."High-income nations are responsible for more than 10 times the emissions of the poorest nations," Ms Malik said. "This reflects greater consumption of animal products, highly processed foods and energy-intensive goods and services."The vast bulk of emissions came from industries such as agriculture, transport and energy generation. Emissions from consumers-end use were mostly from sewage.A paper on the research has been published by the international journal Nature Geoscience.Nitrogen pollution was becoming an increasingly significant problem, as countries not only consumed the naturally occurring element but were also producing greater quantities of synthetic nitrogen, Professor Lenzen said. "Polices are needed to integrate nitrogen supply-chains globally in order to reduce pollution, Professor Lenzen said. "We know nitrogen emissions are increasing - just as carbon emissions are increasing as populations expand.Per-capita nitrogen emission ranged from more than 100 kg annually for wealthy nations such as Hong Kong and Luxembourg, to less than 7 kg for developing nations such as Papua New Guinea, Cte d'Ivoire, and Liberia.UNI YSG SV 1057

-- (UNI) -- C-1-1-DL0177-558812.Xml

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