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Tackling soot emissions to combat global warming


9th March, 2009

Forget CO2, say NASA scientists – by tackling soot emissions we could really dent global warming

We tend to imagine that as a pollutant soot disappeared with coal fires and the Clean Air Act of the ‘50s.

In fact soot – microscopic particles of unburnt carbon – is thought to be the second largest cause of global warming after carbon dioxide emissions.

Now a study by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies suggests that reducing soot emissions would have an immediate cooling effect on global temperature, and would help reduce ill-health and deaths from air pollution as well.

Soot contributes to global warming because it darkens snow and ice, reducing its ability to reflect sunlight.


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