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SOURCE: National Post

DATE: April 11, 2017

SNIP: Across Canada, the last of the snow and ice is melting away from a vast expanse of farmers’ fields, making way for the planting of this year’s crops.

And — suggests a new Canadian study — making an unexpectedly large contribution to greenhouse gases and climate change.

Strange as it might seem, the thawing of frozen cropland burps nitrous oxide into the atmosphere at rates far greater than previously thought, meaning agriculture’s role in producing the greenhouse gas has been greatly underestimated, according to research from the Universities of Guelph and Manitoba.

Nitrous oxide — commonly known as laughing gas and used as a dental anesthetic — accounts for well under 10 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. But it’s almost 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping energy, the greenhouse effect believed to be warming the planet.