11th April saw the publication of an exemplary continental scale assessment of reactive nitrogen in the environment.. A landmark because it not only reviews and environmental and societal threats, but also includes the first cost-benefit analysis for different forms of reactive nitrogen and considers future scenarios.
Co-ordinated by Dr Mark Sutton of CEH, with more than 200 experts from 89 different organisations contirbuting to the 600+ page report, it addresses the issues associated with reactive nitrogen at each level from field to farm and city up to national and continental scales, emphasising the opportunities for better management at each level.
It has a really useful technical synoposis and summary for policy makers and is full of useful information and tools for imporving communication: for example just check out the introductory video on You-tube:
The whole book is available as pdf chapters at the European Science Foundation website, since they were one of the major contributors to funding the project.
Chapter 26 is particularly useful for those lookiing at how best to communicate the complex messages in a simple way. Pity that some of the media who picked this story up on Monday did not look more at this rather than just focusssing on the economics headlines, which for the curious are:
The annual cost of damage caused by nitrogen across Europe is £60-£280 billion (70-320 billion euros).
The cost to each person in Europe is around £130-£650 (150-740 euros).