In a NASA study, scientists used computer models to determine the impact of emission reductions. The scientists found that by reducing black carbon and methane, which are pollutants that affect air quality and global warming, they can improve human health and food security.
Reducing emissions would require that societies make multiple infrastructure upgrades. For methane, the key strategies the scientists considered were capturing gas escaping from coal mines and oil and natural gas facilities, as well as reducing leakage from long-distance pipelines, preventing emissions from city landfills, updating wastewater treatment plants, aerating rice paddies more, and limiting emissions from manure on farms.
For black carbon, the strategies analyzed include installing filters in diesel vehicles, keeping high-emitting vehicles off the road, upgrading cooking stoves and boilers to cleaner burning types, installing more efficient kilns for brick production, upgrading coke ovens and banning agricultural burning.
Methane is more wide spread. Black carbon kind of disappears out of the atmosphere after a few days, when emitted near places that have snow and ice. So this study shows that there should be a plan to reduce emissions by looking at each geographic region.
NASA's Drew Shindell previously said: "For climate, putting control measures in place could eliminate about half the warming we’ll otherwise face over the next 40 years. We estimate that adoption of the 16 control measures we considered would save about 2 million lives a year and save 50 million tons of crops a year."
Photo also via NASA
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