Study: Comprehensive Climate Policy Needed

Aug 14, 2013

Leaking tailpipes and wood-fired stoves are some of the culprits that release methane and soot into the atmosphere. Some researchers think cutting these emissions could significantly reduce global warming effects. But a Northwest study has found that it might not reduce effects that much.

Several studies have found that reducing greenhouse gases, like soot and methane, could slow the rate of global warming by roughly 1 degree Fahrenheit by 2050. An international coalition was formed a year ago to find ways to quickly reduce these types of gases. But a new study from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland reports that 1-degree estimate is too high. Researcher Steve Smith used a computer model to look at scenarios that removed soot and methane from the atmosphere. He found that eliminating these tiny particles would lower the Earth’s average temperature by two-thirds less than what earlier studies predicted.

Smith: “For reducing future climate change, the focus really does need to be on all the greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, but including methane and all the other greenhouse gases.”

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition says reducing soot and methane emissions will slow the rate of global warming and make people healthier.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio