The scientific program will be divided into 8 main themes and 15 subthemes related to different aspects of reactive nitrogen in combination with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Each of the subthemes will be introduced by a keynote speaker. Please visit our “Speakers” page for the list of keynote speakers confirmed so far. Authors are asked to attribute their papers/posters to one of the subthemes, which can be selected on the “Call for Papers” page.
1. Nutrition and lifestyles
Nitrogen-related global inequalities of the food system
While in some regions of the world food production and retail lead to vast losses of nitrogen to the environment, in other regions not enough nitrogen is available for sustainable agricultural crop production. Food system governance should minimize nutrition inequalities and optimize the efficiency of nitrogen use in order to achieve equal food security without nitrogen-induced impacts. The session will illustrate such inequalities and present good practice examples.
Responsible consumption and production and feedbacks in the N cycle
Feedbacks between sufficiency strategies or choice of sustainable lifestyles (including dietary choices and circular economy approaches) and the nitrogen cycle will be addressed. How are these feedbacks assessed in the light of a growing world population and different economic situations in different regions of the world? How far will voluntary consumer choices help or are regulations needed?
2. Agriculture and food
Livestock production and nitrogen
In terms of nitrogen loss, livestock systems are still ineffective and untight. However the demand for meat and dairy products is continuously increasing in parallel with a growing world population and a shift in consumption patterns. It is therefore important to improve the efficiency of nitrogen use in livestock systems.
Optimizing the efficiency of nitrogen use in crop production
Cropping systems are open systems and fertilizer nitrogen is released in different forms into the environment. There are also feedbacks between nitrogen and other nutrient elements. Which new options/techniques (from organic farming to biotechnology) exist to close budgets as much as possible? What role do leguminous plants play?
3. Ensure health, clean water, air and cities
Nitrogen air pollution affects human health
Health is affected by nitrogen emissions and their impacts on the atmosphere (NO2, secondary particulate matter, ozone). How big are the threats and which sources influence them? Which solutions for cleaner air and sustainable cities in traffic and industry are available?
Reduction of nitrogen in wastewater to ensure clean water and sanitation
Nitrogen outflow with unpurified wastewater is a major threat for ecosystem health and human well-being. Effective wastewater and sewage management is therefore essential for health and ecosystem quality.
4. Combat threats for biodiversity
Threats for terrestrial biodiversity – understanding of nutrient cycles and biosphere-atmosphere interaction
Threats for terrestrial biodiversity through nitrogen availability and understanding of terrestrial nutrient cycles including biosphere-atmosphere interaction will be addressed. Possibilities for better management to shield ecosystems and protected species from negative effects will be highlighted.
Threats for aquatic biodiversity by nitrogen flows – understanding of nutrient cycles
Threats for aquatic biodiversity through nitrogen availability and understanding of aquatic nutrient cycles including will be addressed.
5. Observing global challenges, fluxes and interactions between different drivers and pressures
How nitrogen influences our climate
Nitrogen affects climate change directly and indirectly. Examples are nitrous oxide emissions or interlinkages between the global biogeochemical N and CO2 cycles. This session will highlight these feedbacks between nitrogen emissions and climate, including global risk assessment and identification of tipping points.
Global assessments of the biogeochemical nitrogen cycle: Observation and modeling
Nitrogen emissions influence global pathways of atmospheric and aquatic mass transport. Through modeling or satellite or ground-based observations, the quantification of the biogeochemical nitrogen cycle is being continuously improved. This is an important basis for robust risk assessment.
6. Closing the N cycle: Innovations for sustainable N management
Innovation and infrastructure
This session will highlight innovative ideas and developments in industry, traffic and agriculture. This includes potential advances such as remote sensing, biotechnology, closure of open systems, NOx recapture, bioeconomy, recycling or transformational changes to the N cycle in order to reduce pollution.
7. Integrated science and policy approaches – Social and public awareness
Integrated approaches: From science to policy
Integrated science and policy approaches are necessary to solve complex problems. Normally, policy focuses on very few targets. Economic figures play an important role. Political discussions are often ruled by (over-) simplified pictures and equations. How to cope with the complex problems of reactive N compounds?
Educational aspects, public awareness, risk communication
Appropriate risk communication is key for public awareness. Is it ready for changing consumption habits of people? Tools like Nitrogen budgets, footprint calculators or cost-benefit analysis are currently being explored. Experiences from national dialogues or from Citizen Science projects may help to find the small path between panic and unconcern. Education plays an important role when looking into the future.
8. Special and opening and concluding sessions
Nitrogen and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Meeting a major part of the SDGs goes hand in hand with an effective nitrogen management. Regional assessments highlight different nitrogen-related focal areas. Interdisciplinary research interlinking the different global regions and involving young scientists is important for sustainable nitrogen management with the aim of combating global inequality.
Different continent views on nitrogen
A series of parallel continent sessions will provide an opportunity to exchange cross-sectoral and –media views on continent specific nitrogen issues and approaches. As an example, the developments in nine years since the launch of the European Nitrogen Assessment (ENA) will be part of the Europe Session. To conclude, the various results will be compiled in the plenum and discussed in a panel discussion with participants from all continents.
Welcome to Berlin! Get-together on a boat trip through the city center
On Sunday, 3 May 2020, the Federal Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for the Environment cordially invite you to join us on a boat trip. While discovering the beauty of Berlin’s city center from the water, we can start to network or regroup with colleagues from the last conference.
During our cruise, you will journey along the most exciting kilometers the Spree River has to offer on its way through the heart of Berlin: A unique landscape of sightseeing highlights – one after the other – and an unforgettable experience. Berlin, a city steeped in tradition, has developed at a breathtaking pace over the last few years and this transformation has distinctly altered its appearance.
Our boat trip will take you past many places of historical significance but also bring into focus Berlin as a vibrant metropolis, where the future has already begun and is visualized in outstanding architecture of international appeal.
Departure time: 2.00 p.m.
Program of the Side Event Harnack House
Tuesday, 5 May 2020, 7.00 p.m.
Half-way through our conference, the Federal Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for the Environment cordially invite you to attend our conference dinner. Not only during the day but also in the evening we would like to come together to share new ideas and exchange experiences on and beyond the topic of nitrogen. We will have time to make new contacts and to foster old ones.
Details will follow shortly.
Side Event Harnack House
Wednesday, 6 May 2020, 6.00-9.00 p.m.
“Time travel from Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch to future nitrogen challenges”
About 100 years ago, German chemist Fritz Haber invented artificial ammonia fixation. Together with Carl Bosch at BASF, they developed an industrial process to produce reactive nitrogen in large quantities. Since then, nitrogen as a nutrient in food production has become increasingly available for agricultural systems. The decreasing limitations of nitrogen fertilizer abundance in many parts of the world at the same time led to a rapid and continuous growth of the world population. Today, ammonia synthesis consumes between 2-3 % of global energy demand. At the same time, nitrogen is used ineffectively and the vast losses result in many environmental problems.
With their invention, Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch decoupled the natural limitations of a biogeochemical nitrogen cycle that had so far effectively been closed. From our current standpoint, it looks as if industrial fixation unleashed a self-energizing system with a scenario of about 10 billion people in 2050 that will have to be fed. Quoting famous German poet Goethe and his Sorcerer’s Apprentice seems an appropriate way to describe this development: “The spirits I have called, I cannot drive away.”
At Harnack House, the former guest house and conference venue of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society (now Max Planck Society) in Berlin-Dahlem, we would like to reflect with you on the history of Fritz Haber and ammonia synthesis and risk a look into the future and further development of nitrogen management.
Let us get together there and follow in the footsteps of Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Fritz Haber, Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and Max Planck, who all came to Harnack House for social gatherings and scientific colloquia.
We would like to end the evening with a reception with drinks and snacks.
Free Walking Tour – Counter-Cycling
Monday, 4 May 2020
An atom at large in the biota is too free to know freedom; an atom back in the sea has forgotten it. For every atom lost to the sea, the prairie pulls another out of the decaying rocks. The only certain truth is that its creatures must suck hard, live fast, and die often, lest its losses exceed its gains.
(Odyssey, Aldo Leopold, 1949)
At the beginning and the end of our conference, in the evening of Monday the 4th and Thursday the 7th, we would like to wander around with you through Berlin to experience the influence of nitrogen in the capital environment in a poetic and investigative way. The groups going to be restricted – so get your ticket now!
A free walking tour is free of charge for participants. The Tour Guide is paid over tip, which symbolize or value the quality of the tour. Hence, we would be happy if you like to contribute afterwards matching your contentment of the tour.
For more details, click here