The Nitrous Oxide Focus Group is a consortium-based research initiative established in 2008 to explore the action of the climate-active gas, nitrous oxide (N2O); its role in climate change and the contribution of microorganisms to environmental emissions with the aim of developing new strategies to mitigate its effect.

Our team of (micro)biologists, chemists, computer scientists, soil scientists and environmental scientists led by Dr Andrew Gates and Professor David Richardson of the University of East Anglia aims among other things to develop computational models of the process by which land-based bacteria produce the potent greenhouse and ozone-depleting gas, nitrous oxide that may persist in the atmosphere for many years. The Focus Group will also concentrate on understanding the sources of nitrous oxide, the chemistry and biology behind the production of nitrous oxide and its overall impact upon climate change.

Recognised in the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement in 2016, the global warming potential of nitrous oxide is 300 times more than carbon dioxide (on a 100-year timescale) and it persists in the atmosphere with a 120-year lifetime. Nitrous oxide represents 9% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture and waste and water treatment industries account for 80% of this, and developing computational models informed by real-world data will assist in implementing future mitigation strategies from these land-based sectors. Understanding the factors that affect the emission of this potent gas will be of great benefit to a range of industries including agriculture, food, transport, waste and land management.

Ultimately the Group will work toward solutions for the wider community and commercial and non-academic partners are being sought to inform and enable the development of opportunities arising from the Nitrous Oxide Focus Group's Group research.

Visit to UEA on 29th January 2010 by HRH The Prince of Wales (Patron of the School of Environmental Science). HRH met with staff and researchers and was briefed on issues within the environmental science arena including the work of the Nitrous Oxide Focus group.

David Cameron meets with Professor David Richardson to discuss environmental issues.