Soot pollution a big contributor to climate change, study finds
Soot pollution contributes significantly to climate change and is second only to carbon dioxide as a climate-warming factor, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience. The study estimates that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may have underestimated soot’s role as a climate-warming factor by about three or four times. If the new research is correct, significantly reducing soot pollution with currently available technology could have a dramatic almost-immediate effect on reducing climate change in the short term since soot only lingers in the atmosphere for about a week; carbon dioxide lingers for up to a century. The world’s governments already have plenty of incentive to cut soot pollution as it kills over 1.5 million people a year, mostly in developing countries where coal and wood are burned in homes for cooking and heating. “Providing alternative energy-efficient and smoke-free cookers, and introducing transferring technology for reducing soot emissions from coal combustion in small industries could have major impacts,” the study said.