Selectively targeting aerosol pollutants could reduce climate change

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Even the name "black carbon" sounds scary, and it is. It's the stuff spewed out by diesel engines and certain types of outdoor cooking equipment, used mostly in some Asian countries. Scientists have been able to trace a significant rise in greenhouse gas directly to black carbon. And that's why there's a focus on cleaning it up.

The process of getting rid of or limiting the stuff is fairly easy and can be done through regulations like those put in place by California. If regulations could be enforced globally, researchers see the possibility of a drop in temperature of between one-half and 1 degree Celsius.

Prof. Ram Ramanathan grew up in India, where he had a first-hand look at black carbon in the form of smoke billowing from his grandmother's cookstove. Now, he's a leading authority on black carbon, and he spends much of his time trying to limit it.


Cleaning Up Diesel Trucks and Cooking Stoves Could Reduce Climate Change
Recent research suggests that if we can clean up diesel engines and primitive cookstoves in India and China, for example, that could delay the effects of greenhouse-gas buildup even if pollution from coal-fired power plants persists. A study released last week concludes that if every country were to do what California has done in the last couple of decades to clean up diesel emissions, it would slow down global warming by 15 percent. Reducing similar pollution from sources such as ships and cookstoves--which weren't included in the study--could help even more. (MIT Technology Review)

• Watch a TEDx Talk by Ram Ramanathan

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