A scientific report has stated that while the world is looking at carbon dioxide as the major concern with respect to climate change, other possibly easier ways of bringing down global warming are being missed out on.
The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) set up by the Arctic Council produced the said report, which claimed that the temperature on earth could be brought down by earth by approximately 0.2 degrees Celsius between now and 2050 by putting down a heavier hand on the other pollutants except carbon dioxide, such as methane, black carbon and atmospheric ozone.
Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide, but is 20 times more dangerous in its potential for global warming. However, it is much easier to deal with, as it is a short-lived pollutant. An even shorter life-span is carried by black carbon, which is produced from incomplete burning of fossil fuels.
The accumulation of greenhouse gases, which might even remain hanging in the atmosphere for over a century, is the main cause behind global warming.
“Actions to reduce methane emissions could slow the global warming expected by 2050 by approximately 0.2 degree Celsius. A reduction of about 0.25 degree Celsius in the Arctic could be achieved through global actions to reduce emissions of black carbon and co-emitted air pollutants,” the report, released during the Paris conference, says, according to a statement by the AMAP.
“Unlike carbon dioxide, short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) have a relatively short residence time in the atmosphere (of a few days to about a decade). The shorter the lifetime, the more quickly atmospheric concentrations can be reduced by lowering emissions. This means that action on SLCPs has the potential to slow the rate of climate warming on a comparatively shorter time scale,” said the statement.
The statement additionally said that this step should not be seen as a replacement to the actions being taken on carbon dioxide and harsher greenhouse gases.
“Action on black carbon and ozone has added benefits since these pollutants are also harmful to human health,” it said.
The research also showed that if black carbon and methane were aggressively curbed, the temperature rise since the industrial age could easily be stalled at the 2 degrees Celsius mark.