Also known as "stove soot," black carbon made headlines recently as possibly the No. 2 contributor to rising global temperatures. Elizabeth Rosenthal in the New York Times writes of recent studies estimating that black carbon is "responsible for 18 percent of the planet?s warming, compared with 40 percent for carbon dioxide." She adds: "Decreasing black carbon emissions would be a relatively cheap way to significantly rein in global warming &mdash especially in the short term, climate experts say."
"The black carbon absorbs incoming sunlight, converting it into infrared radiation and emitting it to the atmosphere," writes Jeremy Elton. "Because of its short atmospheric lifetime, the scientists suggested that reducing soot could provide a quick, effective way to slow global warming in the short-term." The Times says this is possible by "replacing primitive cooking stoves with modern versions that emit far less soot."
Of course, there's a fine line between taking small but powerful steps and merely re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Not to mention, the stove soot solution sounds an awful lot like misplaced eco-blame. What do you think?