03 Aug 2010

One Big Part of Climate Problem May Be Easier to Solve Than Previously Thought

This is way over my head, but it sounds promising. Apparently one of the biggest pollutants that has some of the most impact on rising temperatures is… not carbon dioxide… but soot. Not only that, but the technology already exists, and isn’t terribly expensive, to filter most soot from power plants, cars and whatnot.

Not only that, but doing these things would have a fairly quick effect on things, since soot stays in the atmosphere much less longer than carbon dioxide, which stays up there for years and years.

“Soot has such a strong climate effect, but it has a lifetime in the atmosphere of just a few weeks. Carbon dioxide has a lifetime of 30 to 50 years. If you totally stop CO2 emissions today, the Arctic will still be totally melted,” said Stanford University climate scientist Mark Jacobson. If soot pollution is immediately curtailed, “the reductions start to occur pretty much right away. Within months, you’ll start seeing temperature differences.”

Now to get them to put some more work into the science of this, and getting congress on board to work on getting the right filtering technology into cars, power plants and other pollution sources. Hopefully they’ll work faster than the ten years it usually takes to get something like this done.

Read on at Wired >>

Author Details
After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
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After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
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2 thoughts on “One Big Part of Climate Problem May Be Easier to Solve Than Previously Thought”

  1. Soot reduction is something people can really get behind. I mean, who really wants a bunch of nasty soot floating around? It's an obvious pollutant, where CO2's status as such is dubious.

    But Sol, why turn to congress? Especially if you think it will take them 10+ years to move. Demand more from local government. Demand the Fed get out of the way. After all, that is how the system was set up to work. That is how the moderate voice is heard.

  2. With this being within reasonably priced technological range, unlike many other environmental goals, I think something including this could be passed through congress.

    But thats a great point. There already are states and localities that are leading the way with policies that are ahead of the federal government's curve.

    I haven't seen any polling on that kind of thing, so I cant agree or disagree on whether that kind of idea is representative of "the moderate voice", but the polling I have seen suggests that the majority *do* in fact want things done, but aren't willing to support it if it would entail large cost increases on their bills.

    This would fit with that, regardless of whether it came from the federal government, or states.

    I'm totally with you that the states should be able to go above and beyond what the federal government does, if they should choose to do so, with the federal government setting a minimum standard.

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