Rice study: Agriculture emissions pose risks to health and climate

The study shows the importance of identifying farming practices that could reduce emissions

The study shows the importance of identifying farming practices that could reduce emissions

A study led by environmental scientists at Rice University’s George R. Brown School of Engineering analyzed the cost of reactive nitrogen emissions from fertilized agriculture and their risks to populations and climate.

The study led by Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and graduate student Lina Luo quantifies emissions of nitrogen oxidesammonia and nitrous oxide from fertilized soils over three years (2011, 2012 and 2017) and compares their impacts by region on air quality, health and climate, according to a release.

The study found total annual damages from ammonia were much larger overall -- at $72 billion -- than those from nitrogen oxides ($12 billion) and nitrous oxide ($13 billion), according to the release.

Air pollution damages are measured by increased mortality and morbidity. Monetized damages from climate change include the threats to crops, property, ecosystem services and human health.

The researchers found that the health impact of air pollution from ammonia and nitrogen oxides, outweighed the climate impact from nitrous oxide.

Cohan appeared on KPRC 2+ to share more about these findings. Watch the full interview in the video at the top of the page.

Read the abstract at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.1c08660.