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Friday, September 22, 2023

Argentina commits to emissions reduction from nitric acid production

At a virtual meeting on Thursday, May 27, 2021 with German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, Argentine Minister for Productive Development Matías Kulfas signed the Statement of Undertaking of the Nitric Acid Climate Action Group (NACAG).

Matías Kulfas
Argentine Minister for Productive Development, Matías Kulfas

Argentina is the seventh country to commit to permanently making major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from national nitric acid production. In future, Argentina will make long-term savings of around 200,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents each year. The NACAG initiative will save a total of 3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Funding for the technical and financial support comes from the German Federal Environment Ministry’s International Climate Initiative (IKI).

Schulze commented: “Each year, global nitric acid production emits large quantities of highly climate-damaging nitrous oxide. Our Nitric Acid Climate Action Group supports partner countries in abating these emissions. By joining NACAG, Argentina is sending an important signal for the climate-friendly transformation of this sector and helping to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Nitric acid is a key raw material in the fertiliser industry and is produced in more than 500 factories worldwide. During the manufacturing process, large quantities of nitrous oxide (N2O) are emitted. This greenhouse gas is 265 times more damaging to the climate than CO2.

While the abatement technology to hugely reduce nitrous oxide emissions is relatively straightforward and cost-efficient, most plants operate without it, and the industry consequently emits over 100 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year.

To harness this significant mitigation potential, the BMU launched the Nitric Acid Climate Action Group using funds from the International Climate Initiative (IKI). NACAG aims to encourage as many countries as possible to reduce nitrous oxide emissions in their nitric acid production. To this end, the BMU provides financial support for plant operators in partner countries and offers technical and strategic advice.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the World Bank were tasked with establishing the Nitric Acid Climate Action Group. GIZ is responsible for the NACAG secretariat, gives technical advice and funds nitrous oxide abatement technology in eligible partner countries. The World Bank was asked to set up the Nitric Acid Climate Auctions Programme (NACAP), which purchases and cancels CERs from mitigation projects that have been implemented but may no longer be operational.

Joining Mexico, Thailand, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Tunisia and Zimbabwe, Argentina is the seventh country to sign the ministerial Statement of Undertaking and thus commits to emissions abatement in national nitric acid production. In this way, these countries save upwards of three million tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions each year. The NACAG secretariat is currently in talks with other countries.

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