/ INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Why Black Carbon and Ozone Also Matter
Source: ENN, Date: , 2009
According to an essay published in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs,
reducing emissions of black carbon soot and ground-level ozone would
quickly make a considerable dent in the climate change problem and
would also contribute to public health and protect crop yields. “The
Other Climate Changers: Why Black Carbon and Ozone Also Matter,” is
authored by Jessica Seddon Wallack, Director of the Center for
Development Finance at the Institute for Financial Management and
Research, in Chennai, India and Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a
scientist and Distinguished Professor of Climate and
Atmospheric Sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
carbon and ground level ozone are ideal pollutants to target to avoid
passing climate tipping points: they are short-lived in the atmosphere
(weeks to a few months), meaning that the benefits of reducing them
could be felt almost immediately.
carbon is produced largely by diesel vehicles and the burning of
biomass, including in cookstoves in developing countries like China and
India. It contributes to 7 percent of child deaths
worldwide that result from fatal respiratory infections. Black carbon
is also responsible for almost 50 percent of warming in the Arctic as
well as extensive snow and ice melt in the Himalayas. Available
technology such as diesel particulate filters for vehicles and
cleaner-burning biomass and solar cookstoves can significantly reduce
black carbon emissions.
level or tropospheric ozone (different than the stratospheric ozone
that blocks the sun’s UV rays) is formed by “ozone precursor” gases
such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, methane, and other
hydrocarbons. Improving the efficiency of industrial combustion
processes can reduce these gases. Besides a danger to breathe, ozone
lowers crop yields. A recent study reported that ozone’s damage to crop
yields in 2000 resulted in an economic loss of $14-26 billion annually.