According to a recent study conducted by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency, nitrous oxide emissions have gained the status of being the largest contributor to ozone depletion in the 21st century thus far. However the possibility of it being the leading cause for the rest of the century is strong. Nitrous oxide is mainly emitted by human activity: agricultural fertilizers, livestock manure, sewage treatment, combustion and certain other industrial processes. Due to the lack of understanding the true extent of adverse effects caused by nitrous oxide, it was excluded from the Montreal Protocol of 1987, which regulated the emission and production of certain chemicals such as CFCs.
In addition to ozone depletion, Nitrous Oxide is also a significantly more harmful greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide. Potentially 300 times more damaging to global temperature levels over a period of 100 years.
Carbon Dioxide is not the only or worst greenhouse gas, it is just the most prevalent in the atmosphere and in the media.
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