One Step Closer to a Soot Solution
CO2 isn’t the only thing warming our planet. Black soot is the second biggest cause of global warming according to new research published in Nature Geoscience. It’s not exactly a new finding, though. James E. Hansen, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute, was talking about this during the Clinton administration. Or at least he tried to; the Clinton administration wasn’t too keen on raising awareness about non-CO2 factors.
Soot causes about 60 percent of the global warming effects that CO2 does. The recognition that soot is a big contributor to climate change is significant because we already have the technology to reduce soot. Rapid soot reductions could achieve big short-term gains in battling climate change. Whereas CO2 lingers in the atmosphere for years, soot particles only stay for about a week.
Black soot is also a public health hazard, as an estimated 400,000 people die each year from inhaling it.
The coal and oil industries are big soot producers. Wood and dung stoves in developing countries generate soot on a smaller scale.