Friday, January 13, 2012

Climate change involves not just CO2, but also soot and methane

A couple of important studies on climate change have recently hit the news.  First came a report on the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide within the United States, EPA: Power plants are top global warming culprits. According to the Environmental Protection Agency power plants released 72 percent of the industrial greenhouse gases this past year. The biggest culprits were coal-fired plants followed by oil refineries.

While it is tempting to simply point to the energy sector as the villains of our exorbitant carbon dioxide emissions, yet they are helping to fulfill the needs of us American energy addicts.  In addition to focusing on cleaning up the power plants and refineries, we too must look at ways of curbing our use of fossil fuels.

In another report an international team of scientist are recommending that in addition to focusing our attention on decreasing carbon dioxide emissions we should also be working to reduce discharges of methane and soot, Climate change not just about CO2; study says cut methane, soot to slow warming, save lives.  It has been calculated that there are 10 to 1 returns on investments for efforts to reduce soot and methane.  Just within the United States it is estimated 14,000 air pollution deaths in people older than 30 by the year 2030 could be prevented. Additionally, a reduction in methane and soot could, over  the next 30 years, diminish by about 0.8 degrees Fahrenheit projected warming in the U.S.

Additional information on the impact of soot is available from an article published in 2010 by Sanford University, Best hope for saving Artic sea ice is cutting soot emissions, says stanford researcher.

No comments:

Post a Comment