Friday, August 15, 2008

Three Big Things We Should Do Now to Slow Global Warming

Amidst all the complexity of international climate change negotiations, it is easy to lose sight of actions we can take now, using proven technologies. Such “immediate mitigation” is essential if we are to avoid irreversible tipping points for abrupt climate change.

There are three very promising ways of meeting the need for speed. Black carbon, the light absorbing matter in soot, warms the atmosphere by absorbing solar radiation and releasing it as heat. It also accelerates the melting of snow and ice by reducing their ‘albedo’ (the ability to reflect light). This is most dramatically demonstrated by the contribution which black carbon is making to the disintegration of Arctic sea-ice, which in turn threatens to accelerate feedback mechanisms that will speed disintegration of the Greenland Ice Sheet. More >>>