Anti-soot policy can solve 15% climate change within decade
Like many before him Jacobson argues the role of soot – or ‘black carbon’ – is being ignored in the international efforts to combat climate change. After CO2 soot is the most important contributor to global warming, not because it would be a greenhouse gas [soot particles after all are solid], but because soot lowers the Earth’s albedo, transforming solar radiation to heat radiation.
Soot aerosols even decrease the albedo of ‘space’ as it also absorbs a portion of the solar radiation that was already reflected by Earth’s surface, capturing the energy in midair just before it could escape and thereby creating more heat, further warming the atmosphere.
What’s new to Jacobson’s story is firstly his call to action. He states through aggressive anti-soot policy, by combined targeting of all sources from exhaust filters for vehicles to cooking stoves to replace wood fires in poor nations, ‘within 5-10 years’ worldwide soot emissions could be reduced by 90 percent.
The benefits of this are also somewhat larger than previously thought. Jacobson says his calculations show an additional reason why soot is ‘bad for the climate’: soot particles disturb an even cloud cover, thereby further reducing the Earth’s general albedo.