The Threat of Black Carbon


With no cars and little electricity, emissions of carbon dioxide (the main heat-trapping gas linked to global warming) from any small Indian village, are near zero. But soot — also known as black carbon — from millions of villages in developing countries, is emerging as a major and previously unappreciated source of global climate change. While carbon dioxide might be the top contributor to rising global temperatures, scientists say, black carbon has emerged as an important second, with recent studies estimating that it is responsible for 18 percent of the planet’s warming, compared with 40 percent for carbon dioxide. In Asia and Africa, stoves produce the bulk of black carbon, although it also emanates from diesel engines and coal plants there. The environmental and geopolitical implications of soot emissions are enormous. Many studies point out that at the current rate of emissions, Himalayan glaciers are expected to lose 75 percent of their ice by 2020,which could dry up rivers resulting in not only human suffering but potential new Geo-political conflicts