March 22, 2010

Sulfur dioxide reduction could speed global warming

As a harmful aerosol pollutant emitted in the processing of coal, oil and industrial processes, a focus on sulfur dioxide levels have brought drastic reductions in several industrialized nations.

Currently, countries such as India and China are also making efforts to reduce these pollutants. However, a study by the European Commission Joint Research Center has found that such endeavors are likely to heat the planet more quickly.

This is because the presence of sulfur dioxide causes atmospheric cooling, which balances the heat of the CO2 released during these fossil fuel-burning processes, suggesting that heat from coal, oil and industry has played a smaller role in climate heating than previously thought.

This finding also corresponds with a report from Dr. Drew Shindell of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, who evaluated the interaction between methane and aerosols such as sulfur dioxide.

He also concluded that methane, generated primarily by livestock and related meat production, was having a much larger warming effect than previously understood.

Our appreciation, European Commission Joint Research Center, Dr. Shindell and all other participating scientists for this insightful finding. May such research as yours motivate more rapid efforts to reduce planet-heating greenhouse gases to preserve our environment for future generations.

As in a September 2009 videoconference in South Korea, Supreme Master Ching Hai has highlighted on many occasions that the most urgent global warming threat lies in sources other than fossil fuel-burning industries.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: If the goal is to be a truly carbon-free society, we should consider all the major sources of greenhouse gases emissions. You see, we are emitting greenhouse gases not just through the fumes from factories, houses, and cars, but also through the products that we choose to consume. Besides, CO2 is cancelled out by aerosols, which are released at the same time from burning fossil fuels.

Even though aerosols are very detrimental to our health, they actually have a cooling effect that cancels out the CO2 heat in the atmosphere.

The warming climate problem is not from CO2, is not from carbon dioxide. I repeat, it’s not from carbon dioxide. It is from other sources, mainly methane.

First and foremost, eliminate the single largest source of human-caused methane, namely, livestock. Stop animal products, then we stop global warming.

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