Soot produced by burning coal, diesel, wood and dung causes significantly more damage to the environment than previously thought, according to new research.
So-called “black carbon” could cause up to 60% of the current warming effect of carbon dioxide, according to the US researchers, making it an important target for efforts to slow global warming.
In addition, Around 400,000 people are estimated to die each year due to inhaling soot particles, particularly because of indoor cooking on wood and dung stoves in developing countries. These deaths are mainly among women and children.
Professor Greg Carmichael, of the University of Iowa, one of the authors of the study, published in Nature Geoscience, said: “Trying to develop strategies that really go after black carbon is really a very good short-term strategy and a win-win strategy for both climate and air pollution perspectives.”
Stopping a new generation of coal-fired power plants might also help…