OpenFields

1261: European Nitrogen Assessment

This paper is summarised from the European Nitrogen Assessment which was coordinated by the Nitrogen in Europe (NinE) programme of the Europea Science Foundation.

Year of Publication2011

The increased use of nitrogen as fertiliser allows a growing world population, but has adverse effects on the environment and human health. The total damage cost is €150–€750 per person. Nitrogen impacts from agriculture are estimated at €20–€150 billion per year compared with a benefit of N-fertilizer for farmers of €10–€100 billion per year. The highest costs are associated with loss of air and water quality linked to impacts on ecosystems and on human health. Internalizing the environmental costs for N-intensive agriculture indicates economically optimal annual N fertiliser application rates that are about 30% lower than the economic optimum. Tackling the problem necessitates a holistic approach and international cooperation.

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