Public Release: 

Are you a 'Nitrogenius?'

Ecological Society of America

News stories abound regarding a US energy crises and global warming from the release of gases such as carbon dioxide. However, an important player in both energy production and possible climate altering emissions often fails to be mentioned: Nitrogen.

The Second International Nitrogen Conference, N2001, will help remedy this oversight as scientists, policy makers, researchers and industry leaders gather to discuss nitrogen's current role in the environment. Organized by several national and international organizations, N2001 will be held at the Bolger Conference Center in Potomac, Maryland, USA, October 14-18, 2001.

What better way to learn about the complexities of nitrogen pollution than through a game. "Nitrogenius," also known as the "N Game," is described by its creators as a "decision support system."

The game is designed to illustrate in a simple way the complex relations within the nitrogen pollution situation. Combining agriculture, industrial and transportation influences, the game aims to improve understanding of nitrogen's movement in the environment.

"Nitrogenius" allows players to search for an optimal policy which reduces pollution while maintaining the lowest costs with the fewest negative impacts on society. The game is based on conditions existing in the Netherlands, which has one of the highest densities of nitrogen emissions in the world.

On Sunday, October 14, Jan Willem Erisman of the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands and his colleagues will describe the game and its background. The first full session of "Nitrogenius" will be played on Monday, October 15th. Several sessions of the game will occur throughout the week, with the outcome of these sessions to be discussed at the end of the conference.

On Wednesday, October 17, Michael Bradley of M.J. Bradley and Associates, Inc. will present a talk entitled "Reducing Global Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Emissions: Encouraging the Development of Advanced Energy and Transportation Technologies."

The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, releases nitrogen into the atmosphere. High temperature combustion, which occurs in the operation of automobiles, factories and power plants, also increases the amount of nitrogen released.

Therefore, as energy demands continue to increase, global NOx emissions will also continue to increase, says Bradley. He will evaluate current commercially available energy generation and transportation technologies which produce fewer NOx emissions than [more commonly used] methods. Bradley will also cover various policy options which could be implemented on regional, national and international levels to improve and reduce NOx emissions.

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N2001 is organized and/or sponsored by a diverse array of agencies, scientific organizations, and institutes including the Ecological Society of America, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, the US Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Fertilizer Institute, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, the Electric Power Research Institute, the Crop Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy, and the US Department of Agriculture. Registration and meeting information, including a full list of plenary speakers and scheduled sessions, can be found on the web at: http://education.esa.org/n2001/

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is a scientific, non-profit, 7,800-member organization founded in 1915. Through ESA reports, journals, membership research, and expert testimony to Congress, ESA seeks to promote the responsible application of ecological data and principles to the solution of environmental problems. ESA publishes three scientific, peer-reviewed journals: Ecology, Ecological Applications, and Ecological Monographs. Information about the Society and its activities is published in the Society's quarterly newsletter, ESA NewSource, and in the quarterly Bulletin. More information can be found on the ESA website: http://esa.sdsc.edu

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