Fixing CO2 is a harder problem than fixing soot and air pollution. Carbon dioxide is a gas. It is harder to split the carbon dioxide out of a smokestack than it is to filter out soot and particulates. Carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere will stay there for decades or centuries but soot and particulates can come out in weeks.
The short-term pollutants cause half of the warming problem and they are twenty times cheaper to fix. They have lower costs and often cause higher economic and health damage.
Short-lived climate pollutants, such as methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and tropospheric ozone, have a powerful effect on global temperatures, and many are also damaging air pollutants. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming impact 86 times higher than that of carbon dioxide over a 20-year time horizon. It is also the largest precursor to ground-level ozone, a major component of smog, which can worsen bronchitis and asthma and damage lung tissue. Tropospheric ozone exposure alone is responsible for an estimated one million premature deaths each year.
Methane, Black Carbon (BC), and Ozone (O3) are the most important contributors to current global warming after carbon dioxide (CO2). While HFCs emissions are currently small, they are projected to rise and could be equivalent to 7 to 19% of CO2 emissions by 2050.
BC and co-pollutants make up for the majority of particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) air pollution, one of the leading environmental causes of ill health and premature death. 3.5 and 3.2 million people die prematurely each year from exposure to indoor and outdoor PM2.5 pollution, respectively. Ozone (O3), of which Methane (CH4) is one of the main precursors, is also a major air pollutant.
I Believe There is Warming
I grew up in Canada in Saskatchewan which is above North Dakota. During the 1970s there were almost always 6-foot snow drifts at my house during winter. There was the one year where snow was about 12-feet high and some people had to climb out of their second floor if they had it or dig out from the first floor.
When I went back 30 years later there were 1 to 2 foot drifts.
The farmland in Saskatchewan has doubled in price. The reason is that Saskatchewan farmers can now grow corn. The growing season is two weeks longer.
Climate is the average of 30 years of weather.
Thus I personally believe there has been warming when my personal experience and tracking of world data is combined.
Profitably Dealing With 0.6 Degrees of Warming by 2035
Fixing the parts that are easiest, fastest and most profitable.
The biggest part of the temperature shift that can occur by 2035 is getting rid of most air pollution. The short term pollutant problem is fixable.
Air pollution costs China 7% of its GDP. This is about one trillion per year. Particulates cost China over 1 million premature deaths per year. China currently has a literal war on pollution. They are spending over $150 billion to fix it.
China is now cleaning up most big trucks. China has over half of the world’s semi-trucks. Big trucks are over half of most pollutants in the large cities.
Particulates from incomplete and unfiltered burning of coal, gas and oil cause most air pollution deaths. 7 million people per year from air pollution. 4.2 million outdoor air pollution. This is world war 2 levels of early deaths. People should really talk more about air pollution deaths.
China is spending hundreds of billions per year to deal with air pollution because of middle-class complaints and economic cost.
Soot, black carbon can be removed 20 times cheaper than CO2. They do overlap in many cases.
The world needs to focus on the lower-cost fixable stuff which is profitable to fix. Black carbon and Short life climate pollutants are what should be fixed.
There is a net gain in lower medical bills and other national economics from air pollution fixes.
CO2 costs 20 times and does not bend the temperature curve til after 2050-2060.
All of the Profitable Fixes
The main focus should be on fixing the farming, cooking and heating issues for developing people.
The main focus for China is fixing trucks and to stop cooking with wood and dung for a hundred million people who are still poor in China.
Air pollution still kills and makes many people sick in North America, Europe and Japan. According to recent research, air pollution, including soot, is linked to heart disease, some cancers and, in the United States, as many as 150,000 cases of diabetes every year.
80 percent of all black carbon you find is always mixed. It’s not perfect, like the models treat it.
The particles are mixed, or coated, with organic aerosols that are co-emitted with soot from a combustion system. It turns out, black carbon absorbs more light when it is coated with these organic materials, but the magnitude of absorption enhancement varies non-linearly depending on how much coating is present. Warming due to black carbon could have been underestimated by climate models.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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