Let’s face it – the prospects for containing global climate change by slashing emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are looking rather bleak these days. International treaty talks are proceeding at a snail’s pace, and after dipping during the global recession, emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) – the most important greenhouse gas – from the energy sector climbed to record levels last year, and studies show that the effects of climate change, such as sea level rise, are now expected to be much worse than previously thought.
Now what if I told you that we could slash the rate of global warming nearly in half during the next several decades, while saving as many as 4.7 million lives a year and boosting crop yields, by addressing non-CO2 global warming agents? And, that we wouldn’t need endless rounds of United Nations climate negotiations in order to do it? You’d probably think it sounds too good to be true, like some sort of late night global warming infomercial.
According to a group of 13 scientists from the US, Europe, Africa and Asia, these goals are actually well within reach, and could be accomplished by tackling emissions of short-lived global warming agents such as soot and methane, a precursor to low-level ozone formation and a greenhouse gas in its own right.