The Nitric Acid Climate Action Group

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a highly potent greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential 265 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2). One major source of N2O emissions is the manufacture of nitric acid, which is used for producing nitrogen-based fertiliser. Although effective abatement technologies are available at comparably low cost, N2O from the production of nitric acid continues to be emitted into the atmosphere in most countries in the world.

In a new drive to realise this mitigation potential, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) has launched the Nitric Acid Climate Action Group (NACAG). The NACAG initiative aims to assure global abatement of N2O emissions from nitric acid production by 2020. Its vision is to incentivise the installation of appropriate abatement technologies in all nitric acid production plants worldwide.

The initiative provides all governments and plant operators with guidance and information on technological and regulatory issues regarding N2O abatement. Moreover, NACAG makes available financial support for the installation and operation of abatement technology. This financial support is subject to the condition that partner countries take full responsibility for the mitigation activities after 2020 – for example in the context of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This political commitment by partner countries to take abatement into their own hands ensures the sustainability of the initiated activities and the long-term transformation of the sector.

With regard to the implementation, verification and certification of mitigation activities, the initiative generally applies the existing standards and procedures of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the resulting Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). All emission reduction certificates generated in the course of the initiative will be cancelled and hence will not be used to fulfil any reduction commitments.

Governments, plant operators, further international donors as well as other stakeholders are welcome to join this global action group and, in so doing, to contribute to the worldwide transformation of the nitric acid sector.

Global overview of nitric acid producing countries

Number of nitric acid plants worldwide: ca. 580