Nitric Acid Climate Action Group: avoiding nitrous oxide emissions

Project description

Title: Support for the Nitric Acid Climate Action Group (NACAG)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK)
Countries: Global
Lead executing agency: Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia – Georgia, Ministry of Climate Change – Pakistan, Ministry of Environment – Jordan, Ministry of Environment – Tunisia, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) – Mexico, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management – Zimbabwe, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) – Colombia, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development – Argentina*, Ministry of Industry – Indonesia, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) – Thailand, Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment (CITMA) – Cuba, Uzhydromet – Uzbekistan, Ministry of Industry and Trade – Vietnam, Ministry of Environment of Peru – Peru
Overall term: 2016 to 2025



Nitric acid is an important raw material in the chemical industry, especially for fertiliser production. The manufacture of nitric acid releases nitrous oxide (N2O) into the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas that depletes ozone and is 273 times more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide (CO2). Businesses have no incentive to reduce nitrous oxide emissions. And yet, N2O abatement is relatively inexpensive, costing between 1 and 5 euros per tonne of CO2 equivalent saved.

The potential for climate change mitigation in this industry is huge. We estimate that worldwide, more than 1 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent could be saved in the next ten years. This would make an important contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement climate targets.

Against this background, the German Federal Government launched the Nitric Acid Climate Action Group (NACAG). NACAG’s goal is to create greater incentives for the permanent reduction of nitrous oxide emissions in the nitric acid industry.


Partner countries are implementing policy measures to permanently avoid nitrous oxide emissions that are released during the production of nitric acid.

Two employees walking on the plant premises


The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) in implementing the Nitric Acid Climate Action Group.

NACAG supports specific financial, technical and policy measures to reduce nitrous oxide emissions. For example, the initiative advises on institutional framework conditions in partner countries. It also promotes the use of climate protection technology, also providing funding under certain circumstances.

In return, the partner countries undertake to permanently and independently reduce the nitrous oxide emissions which are released during the manufacture of nitric acid. For this purpose, NACAG finances the installation of climate protection technology in authorised production plants and supports partner countries, for example in the long-term regulation of these emissions. The project also helps in making the partner countries’ nationally determined contributions more ambitious.

Last update: March 2023

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