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A Post-Kyoto Partner: Considering the Stratospheric Ozone Regime as a Tool to Manage Nitrous Oxide
published date:2013-07-11

Denise L. Mauzerall
Professor of Environmental Engineering and International Affairs
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Princeton University
Date:28th Jan. 2013 (Monday)
Time:10:00-11:00 am
Venue:Room 301, Laodixue Building


Nitrous oxide (N2O) is the largest known remaining anthropogenic threat to the stratospheric ozone layer. However, it is currently only regulated under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol due to its simultaneous ability to warm the climate. The threat N2O poses to the stratospheric ozone layer, coupled with the uncertain future of the international climate regime, motivates our exploration of issues that could be relevant to the Parties to the ozone regime (the 1985 Vienna Convention and its 1987 Montreal Protocol) should they decide to take measures to manage N2O in the future. There are clear legal avenues for the ozone regime to regulate N2O, as well as several ways to share authority with the existing and future international climate treaties. N2O mitigation strategies exist to address its most significant anthropogenic sources, including agriculture, where behavioral practices and new technologies could contribute significantly to reducing emissions. Existing policies managing N2O and other forms of reactive nitrogen could be harnessed and built upon by the ozone regime’s existing bodies to implement N2O controls. The possible inclusion of N2O in the ozone regime need not be viewed as a sign of the UNFCCC’s failure to adequately deal with climate change. Rather, it could represent an additional valuable tool in sustainable development diplomacy.