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European Fertilizer Manufacturers Association


Representing one of the main input industries for European agriculture and constantly striving to improve techniques for better fertilizer usage, the European Fertilizer Manufacturers Association (EFMA) welcomes the recently published Greenpeace publication “Cool Farming: Climate impacts of agriculture and mitigation potential”. “We welcome all efforts in improving awareness on good agricultural practices”, says Esa Härmälä, EFMA’s Director General. “This is a well-founded document prepared by respected scientists, which raises awareness regarding Climate Change but more importantly also on the techniques and practices for improvement”. However, EFMA regrets the way Greenpeace has chosen to present this publication in their press release (dated 8 January 2008). The provocative and dramatic title has little to do with the actual content of the publication and is unnecessarily sensationalist. In addition, EFMA would like to raise the following points regarding the content of the publication: • Figures regarding fertilizer production have been collected from a well-known and respected reference (Kongshaug 1998), but these statistics are now outdated as significant progress has been made in production processes during the past ten years in terms of energy efficiency and emission control. • Manure is mentioned as being low in greenhouse gas contribution, but this is only true for manure management. Manure and crop residues are the main global source of nutrients and only 22% of the “2128 Mt CO2-eq of N2O emissions from fertilized soil” (as stated in the Greenpeace publication) can be attributed to mineral fertilizers. • N2O emissions are presented as “a form of nitrogen loss resulting from excess of fertilizer”. This statement is incorrect as the nitrification process is a natural process which occurs in nature regardless of the application of mineral fertilizers or not. The process is indeed necessary in order to transform stable nitrogen forms into a form that the plant is able to take up from the soil - mostly as nitrates. • It is important that the discussion on agriculture’s impact on the environment also includes a dialogue about the role of agriculture in feeding the world population. Indeed, the world population would be 40% less if it were not for the use of mineral fertilizers – a fact recognised by the global scientific community. To be able to _______________________________________________________________________________________ Avenue E. Van Nieuwenhuyse 4, B - 1160 Brussels Tel. +32 2 675 35 50 – Fax 32 2 675 39 61 e-mail :

Bleicherweg 33, CH-8002 Zürich Tel. +41 1 209 15 17Fax +41 1 209 15 06 e-mail :

stimulate a well-balanced debate, this fact should also be reflected in the Greenpeace publication. Climate Change is certainly the main environmental issue for the coming years, and EFMA is more than ready to contribute with appropriate information and actions. Measures such as improving soil management and fertilizer content have already been taken, and we strive to educate and inform through our publications, such as “Sustaining Fertile Soils and Productive Agriculture”, which we see as a valuable input in combining environmental responsibility and necessary food production. To access the EFMA publication “Sustaining Fertile Soils and Productive Agriculture” please click here. For further information, please contact: Mr Christian Pallière Director, Agriculture & Environment Email: Tel: +32 (0)2 663 31 46 Mobile: +32 (0) 475 69 04 95

Notes to Editor: •

The European Fertilizer Manufacturers Association (EFMA) represents the major producers of nitrogen-based fertilizers in Europe. Its mission is to identify, support and manage the common interests of its members, to be the industry’s voice and sounding board and to provide members and the interested public with statistical information and studies.

_______________________________________________________________________________________ Avenue E. Van Nieuwenhuyse 4, B - 1160 Brussels Tel. +32 2 675 35 50 – Fax 32 2 675 39 61 e-mail :

Bleicherweg 33, CH-8002 Zürich Tel. +41 1 209 15 17Fax +41 1 209 15 06 e-mail :


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