The planet can be cooled a whopping 0.5 degrees C with fast action to reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants, gas fracking, diesel trucks and biomass burning, recent studies show.
All it would take is a few regulations and a few tens of millions of dollars over the next two decades to bring dramatic reductions in emissions of short-lived planet-heating pollutants like methane, black carbon or soot and smog.
These are dangerous air pollutants and reductions could save millions of lives, according to studies by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization.
“This is one thing that can be done to slow the very disturbing rapid meltdown of the Arctic sea ice,” said Ellen Baum, senior scientist at the Clean Air Task Force, an international NGO working to reduce air pollution.
Last week, the annual summer melt of sea ice shocked scientists by falling 18 percent below the previous record low. Summer ice this year is half what it was 30 years ago and is disrupting weather patterns in the Northern hemisphere.
The vast Greenland ice sheet also experienced a record melt this year, nearly doubling the previous record melt said Marco Tedesco, an associate professor at the City College of New York and world-renowned specialist on the Greenland ice sheet.
Every summer, the surface of Greenland melts but this year’s melt was off the charts. Parts of Greenland ice continued to melt for 40 to 50 days longer than normal, Tedesco told IPS.
This process is being driven by warmer air temperatures, a drop in snowfall and the fact that much of the ice is no longer white but covered with black soot particles, he said.
Those soot particles come from burning diesel and biomass thousands of kilometers away, in Europe, Asia and North America. Snow and ice ...