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Response to Drahthaardogs (Reply #51)

Mon Apr 29, 2013, 12:18 PM

101. Synthetic fertilizer derived from the haber-bosch process requires intensive fossil fuel inputs.

The modern food system accounts for a phenomenal amount of global carbon emissions which are not offset by the carbon sequestration of growing crops. Granted, going organic alone does not eliminate the emissions for transport, nor for running the tractors and other machines that plow, plant, harvest, and process.

Nor are natural fertilizers such as manure free from potential harm in the form of nitrogen pollution (not the same as direct carbon emissions although it does have implications for the carbon cycle). Too much manure applied to a field can result in nitrogen runoff and algal blooms in the same way that excessive synthetic fertilizer application can; however, manure and organic materials also improve soil qualities such as water retention, making nitrogen run-off somewhat less likely. And it isn't as if nitrogen fertilizer displaces manure, either. Because farming has switched from small-scale diversity to large-scale monoculture, we now have crop-fields with excessive fertilizer application leading to nitrogen pollution in some areas, while other areas have feed lot operations that generate large amounts of manure. Heavy with moisture, that manure is unfeasible to transport very far for use as a soil amendment, so it tends to just sit there, contributing to both methane emissions and nitrogen pollution.

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LineLineLineReply Synthetic fertilizer derived from the haber-bosch process requires intensive fossil fuel inputs.
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