Stop Greenhouse Gas Production Caused by Over-Fertilizing Crops

Fertilizer Application

Target: Administrator Gina McCarthy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Goal:  Accurately calculate the amount of nitrogen-based fertilizer crops need to prevent greenhouse gas emissions

Over-fertilizing is unnecessary, strains the environment, and increases greenhouse gases. Nitrogen-based fertilizers cause the production of nitrous oxide (N2O), the third most prevalent greenhouse gas. After crop’s needs are met, nitrous oxide emissions rapidly increase. Therefore, providing regulations that guide precise fertilization practices is vitally important to ensure sustainability.

Agriculture is a large factor in nitrous oxide emissions, accounting for nearly 80 percent of nitrous oxide discharged by human activity. Additionally, agriculture produces 8-14 percent of all greenhouse gas admission worldwide. According to a Michigan State University study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, when crops’ needs are met, excess nitrogen-based fertilizer stimulates microbes in the soil that produce nitrous oxide. This gas, created widely by human activity, then contributes to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Since the nitrous oxide production only increases when an excess of nitrogen fertilizer is used, it follows then that areas that are under-fertilized need not further restrict the fertilization of their crops. This is helpful information when considering fertilizer practices in areas such as the sub-Saharan desert.

Because farming is a fundamental aspect of human food production, it is necessary to create a sustainable system that does not damage the environment it relies on. Therefore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs to enact regulations that encourage precise measurements of nitrogen-based fertilizer.


Dear Ms. McCarthy,

Due to agriculture’s significant affect on greenhouse gases, it is critical that steps be taken to minimize unnecessary nitrous oxide emissions. This can easily be done by accurately calculating the amount of nitrogen-based fertilizer crops need. When there is excess nitrogen, nitrous oxide production rapidly increases.

Because farming is a worldwide human endeavor that relies on the health of the environment, it is only wise to enact measures that seek to maintain the sustainability of this practice. You have the power to advise the public and Congress on healthy agricultural practices that work in tandem with, not against, the environment.

I implore you to support regulations on behalf of the EPA that require the accurate use of fertilizer on crops in order to prevent the unnecessary production of greenhouse gases. The U.S. should be a leader in setting standards for progressive agriculture practices if it seeks to remain relevant in a future that is sustainable.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: eutrophication&hypoxia via Flickr

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