Climate Change literacy at Defra

Defra recently launched a carbon literacy resource to help explain to the public, businesss and everyone else, how important it is to understand Global Warming, Climate Change, and the need to reduce emissions of Green House Gases (GHG) as well as increase the sequestration of GHGs. We’re particularly keen to promote semi-natural grasslands as key Carbon stores.

In terms of GHG emissions, one of the biggest differences between intensively managed grasslands and extensively managed semi-natural grasslands is the amount of nitrous oxide produced. N2O is an incredibly potent GHG, 300 times as potent as CO2. N2O is produced in intensively managed grasslands when nitrate fertiliser breaks down in the soil. Understanding how differently N2O behaves in intensively managed grasslands compared with semi-natural grasslands is key to understanding the GHG impacts of livestock farming systems.

So given how important it is to explain clearly to all audiences the different GHGs and their significance, you would think Defra would make sure they got the basics right – right?

Take a look at this image from Unit 2

Carbon Literacy

Can anyone spot the key stage 2 chemistry error here?

If this is any indication of the level of care Defra takes to ensure the messages about climate change come through to the public and key audiences, it does not bode terribly well.

Thanks to Dave Stanley at E3 for pointing me towards this.

More on carbon storage in grasslands to come soon.


About grasslandstrust

The Grasslands Trust is the only national UK charity that focuses entirely on saving grasslands that are valuable because they are rich in wildlife, history, or for other reasons.
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