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From Kansas State University's:

Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases (CASMGS)



Charles W. Rice, K-State Department of Agronomy, National CASMGS Director

(785) 532-7217 cwrice@ksu.edu

Scott Staggenborg, K-State Department of Agronomy (785) 532-7214 sstaggen@ksu.edu

Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications (785) 532-7105 swatson@ksu.edu



December 23, 2009

No. 74



* Effect of Different Nitrogen Fertilizer Sources and Soils on Nitrous Oxide Emissions

* Main Greenhouse Gases Reach Highest Level Ever Since Pre-Industrial Time



* Funding for Climate Change Research in Agriculture Gets Major Boost

* New USDA Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture

* EPA Finalizes Endangerment Finding on Greenhouse Gases



* Summary of Copenhagen Climate Summit Accord






Effect of different nitrogen fertilizer sources

and soils on nitrous oxide emissions


Soil microbiologist Tim Parkin, with the ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa, is part of a team that is studying how different soils and different fertilizers affect nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions.  

The researchers assessed the variation in the emissions of N2O, carbon dioxide, and methane from two different soil types -- sandy loam and clay. The two fertilizers used in the study were urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN) and a liquid swine manure slurry.  

They found that overall, N2O emission levels were highest from soils amended with swine manure slurry. High levels of N2O emissions were measured from sandy loam soils amended either with UAN or slurry. But on the clay soils, only those amended with slurry -- and not with UAN -- had elevated N2O emissions.  

Soil scientist Rod Venterea, who works at the ARS Soil and Water Management Research Unit in St. Paul, Minn., is also studying N2O emission dynamics. He found that the amount of N2O emitted from fields fertilized with anhydrous ammonia was on average twice as high as emissions from fields fertilized with urea. 

His findings also suggest that farmers using reduced tillage can minimize N2O emissions by placing fertilizers below the upper 2 to 3 inches of soil.  

Results from Parkin's research were published in the Journal of Environmental Quality in 2008. Venterea's work was published in Global Change Biology in 2007 and the Journal of Environmental Quality in 2005 and 2008.  


-- USDA-ARS News Service, December 9, 2009

For more information, see: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/nov09/nitrous1109.htm






Main Greenhouse Gases Reach Highest

Level Ever Since Pre-Industrial Time


Levels of most greenhouse gases continue to increase. In 2008, global concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, which are the main long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, have reached the highest levels recorded since pre-industrial times, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s 2008 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. Since 1990, the overall increase in radiative forcing caused by all long-lived greenhouse gases is 26% and the increase was 1.3% from 2007 to 2008. These latest figures confirm the continued trend of rising atmospheric burdens of greenhouse gases since 1750.


WMO, through its Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Program, coordinates the observations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through a network of stations located in more than 50 countries.


The globally averaged mixing ratio of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2008 was 385.2 ppm, with an increase of 2.0 ppm from the previous year. CO2 is the most important human-emitted greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, contributing 63.5% to the increase in overall radiative forcing since 1750. Since 1750, atmospheric CO2 has increased by 38%, primarily because of emissions from combustion of fossil fuels, deforestation, and land use change.


The globally averaged mixing ratio of methane (CH4) in 2008 was 1797 ppb, which means an increase of 7 ppb from the previous year. While the concentration of CH4 was stable for seven years (from 1999 to 2006), both 2007 and 2008 show a significant increase. Methane contributes 18.2% to the increase in overall global radiative forcing since 1750. 60% of CH4 emissions come from anthropogenic sources such as ruminants, rice agriculture, fossil fuel exploitation, landfills and biomass burning. Before the industrial era, atmospheric methane was about 700ppb. Increasing emissions from anthropogenic sources are responsible for the 157% increase in the CH4 concentration since 1750.


The globally averaged mixing ratio of nitrous oxide (N2O) in 2008 was 321.8 ppb, 0.9 ppb higher than in 2007, and 19% above the pre-industrial level. N2O contributes 6.2% to the increase in the overall global radiative forcing since 1750. The atmospheric abundance of N2O prior to industrialization was 270 ppb. N2O is emitted into the atmosphere from natural and anthropogenic sources, including oceans, soil, biomass burning, fertilizer use and various industrial processes.



-- World Meteorological Association, Press Release No. 868, Nov. 23, 2009







Funding for Climate Change Research
In Agriculture Gets Major Boost

Funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for research on greenhouse gas mitigation in agriculture will increase by more than 10-fold, according to an announcement on Dec. 16, 2009, from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The new increase in USDA funding for climate change research in agriculture comes as the U.S. joined 20 other countries across the globe on Dec. 16, 2009 to announce the formation of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA), an international research collaborative to combat climate change. K-State has been partnering with several countries included in Global Research Alliance, including Australia, Canada, Colombia and New

Over the next four years, USDA will expand agricultural climate change mitigation research by $90 million and contribute this research to the GRA. The increase will raise USDA´s agricultural
climate change mitigation research portfolio to more than $130 million over the next four years, up from a base level of funding of just over $10 million in fiscal year 2009. USDA´s enhanced commitment is part of a larger increase on climate change research at the Department. Overall, USDA announced that it expects to invest more than $320 million in the next four years on climate change mitigation and adaptation research for agriculture.

In conjunction with this announcement, USDA also released a new report titled "The Effects of Climate Change on U.S. Ecosystems." This report summarizes the most recent scientific findings on how climate change will affect agricultural systems in the U.S. and worldwide.

For more information on the USDA GRA initiative, see www.usda.gov and go to the "Press Room." Search for Release No. 0615.09 from Dec. 16, 2009.


-- Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications







New USDA Report On The Impact
Of Climate Change on Agriculture

Based on a consensus of recent scientific research and modeling, a new report from USDA concludes that climate change is already affecting U.S. agriculture, land resources, water resources and biodiversity. The report, "The Effects of Climate Change on U.S. Ecosystems," identifies many of the effects of climate change on agriculture and other ecosystems in the U.S. over the next several decades. The USDA report was done in cooperation with the University
Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).

Some of the report’s main points:

* Grain and oilseed crops will mature more rapidly, but increasing temperatures will heighten the risk of crop failures, particularly where precipitation decreases or becomes more variable.

* Marketable yield of horticultural crops (such as tomato, onion, and fruit) are more vulnerable to climate change than grains and oilseed crops due to the high sensitivity of their quality and appearance to climate factors.

* Livestock mortality will decrease with warmer winters but this will be more than offset by greater mortality in hotter summers. Hotter temperatures also will result in reduced productivity of livestock and dairy animals, due to changes in consumption and lower pregnancy rates.

* Weeds that can thwart agriculture production grow more rapidly under elevated atmospheric CO2, extend their range northward, and are less sensitive to herbicide applications.

* Disease and pest prevalence will escalate as a result of shorter, warmer winters, challenging crop, livestock, and forest systems.

* The trends toward reduced mountain snowpack and earlier spring snowmelt runoff in the Western U.S., and toward increasing drought in the West and Southwest, imply changes in the availability of water and a need to monitor the performance of reservoir systems with implications for water management and irrigated agriculture in that region.

* Climate change is inducing shifts in plant species in rangelands, favoring the establishment of perennial herbaceous species that reduce soil water availability early in the growing season. Shorter winters, however, decrease the need for seasonal forage reserves.

For the complete report, see:

-- Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications







EPA Finalizes Endangerment Finding

on Greenhouse Gases


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson announced Dec. 7 that her Agency has finalized an endangerment finding against six greenhouse gases (GHGs), empowering it to regulate emissions of those gases under a 2007 Supreme Court ruling.


While the finding itself will not impose regulations, it will empower the Agency to move forward with regulations on GHG emissions from vehicles – regulations that most observers believe that it will eventually expand to other emissions, including those from farms.


The Supreme Court ruled in 2007’s Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency that if EPA found certain GHGs endanger public health, they would be subject to regulation under Title V of the Clean Air Act. The EPA first issued a draft finding in April, beginning the bureaucratic process of regulation under the Court’s order.


The endangerment finding process spurred interest in completing climate change legislation that passed the House this summer but has stalled in the Senate. Jackson said repeatedly in media interviews on Monday that she and the Administration prefer a legislative solution to the issue of GHG emissions versus simply regulating them from the executive branch.


Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) released a framework in December for a compromise. It called for a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and a cap-and-trade-like system, but provided few further details. Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) also released a framework bill intended to be a cap-and-trade alternative.


Still others have pledged to fight the endangerment finding in court. For instance, the Competitive Enterprise Institute announced it will file suit in federal court to overturn the endangerment finding on the grounds that EPA has ignored major scientific issues.


For more on the endangerment finding, see: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html



-- Wheat World, National Association of Wheat Growers, December 11, 2009







Summary of Copenhagen

Climate Summit Accord


The United Nations climate change talks concluded with a statement of intention, not a binding pledge to begin taking action on global warming. The final accord, a 12-paragraph document, was a statement of intention, not a binding pledge to begin taking action on global warming -- a compromise seen by many to represent a flawed but essential step forward.

Robert C. Orr, the U.N. assistant secretary general for policy and planning, said that virtually every country had signaled that it would back the accord and that the decision to simply ''take note'' of the deal was shorthand for acceptance.

The process, known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has produced a series of 15 conventions after a 1992 climate summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro. A much smaller group of nations, roughly 30 countries responsible for 90 percent of global warming emissions, will meet periodically to tackle a narrower agenda of issues, like technology sharing or the merging of carbon trading markets. A version of this already exists in the Major Economies Forum, which includes 17 nations.


It was these nations that President Obama rallied to agree on a deal that starts a flow of financing for poor countries to adapt to climate change and sets up a system for major economies to monitor and report their greenhouse gas emissions.

The deal worked out in Copenhagen is an agreement forged by major emitters to curb greenhouse gases, to help developing nations build clean-energy economies and to send money flowing to cushion the effects of climate change on vulnerable states. But even if countries live up to their commitments on emissions, a gap remains -- measured in tens of billions of tons of projected flows of carbon dioxide -- between nations' combined pledges and what would be required to reliably avert the risks of disruptive changes in rainfall and drought, ecosystems and polar ice cover from global warming, scientists say.

Dropped from earlier drafts was language calling for a binding accord ''as soon as possible.''


Mexico will host the next annual U.N. ministerial talks from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10, 2010 to build on the "Copenhagen Accord" that seeks to limit temperatures rising to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above those recorded in pre-industrial times.


-- The International Herald Tribune, December 21, 2009








January 21-22, 2010

3rd Annual Carbon Trading: Opportunities and Risks in a National Cap-and-Trade System

Houston, Texas



February 17-18, 2010

Carbon and Climate Change

Austin, Texas



August 29-September 3, 2010

The 9th International NCCR Climate Summer School

Adaptation and Mitigation: Responses to Climate Change

Grindelwald, Switzerland



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