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Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus


Per Capita Nitrous Oxide Emissions by Sector

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  • This interactive chart displays the per capita nitrous oxide emissions by sector annually since 1990 for any country or globally.
Teaching Tips


  • This resource clearly shows trends in per capita nitrous oxide emissions over time.
  • The data can be viewed in a variety of ways including both animated and static charts and tables.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know how to read a line graph and be familiar with the term fugitive emissions.
  • Students may need some background information about nitrous oxide as a greenhouse gas and an unregulated ozone-depleting substance.


  • Cross-curricular connections could be made with geography classes by exploring trends in the location of countries and their per capita nitrous oxide emissions.
  • Students could further research nitrous oxide using guiding questions such as:
    • How potent is nitrous oxide as a greenhouse gas?
    • How is nitrous oxide released from fertilizer and waste lagoons?
    • How does fertilizer use contribute to eutrophication and affect water ecosystems?
    • How important is nitrous oxide as an ozone-damaging gas?
Scientist Notes

The resource choose a 100-year time scale for the GWP to calculate and normalize these F gases units into a single unit expressed in CO2e This method is appropriate as it considered the residence time of N2O - CO2 emissions per capita from the sectors. In the chart, agriculture appears to emit the highest concentration of N2O globally. The resource is recommended for teaching.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Statistics & Probability: Making Inferences & Justifying Conclusions (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.IC.B.6 Evaluate reports based on data.
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