Global warming culprit-nations likely to change by 2030

Jul 17, 2014 by Blaine Friedlander
Credit: Alfred Palmer/Wikipedia

(Phys.org) —While developed countries and regions have long been culprits for Earth's rising greenhouse gas emissions, Cornell researchers – balancing the role of aerosols along with carbons in the equation – now predict a time when developing countries will contribute more to climate change than advanced societies: 2030.

Published in Environmental Research Letters (July 11), the new study was designed to inform international policymakers on the role of aerosols, as opposed to strictly greenhouse gases, when considering .

"Historically, between 1850 and 2010, the United States and the European Union have contributed the most to Earth's climate change. But the portion of global surface temperature change from human activities attributable to developing countries is increasing," said Dan Ward, Cornell postdoctoral researcher and the study's lead author. Natalie Mahowald, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, is the senior author.

"In light of all factors, including our understanding of aerosols, we estimate that developing countries will surpass the contribution from developed countries around year 2030," Ward said.

Generally, research considers only how greenhouse gases contribute to climate change, but this study examined the role of released aerosols – that dusty, smoky, hard-to-see-through particulate matter suspended in the atmosphere. Thanks to aerosols, smaller amounts of solar radiation reach the Earth's surface, thereby offering a temporary cooling effect on the Earth's surface temperature. In essence, Ward said, push back the crossover date for when developing countries contribute more to climate change than developed countries.

"Aerosols change the results in small but significant ways," said Ward. "When trying to understand at the global level we have to take a comprehensive view of where they are coming from."

Between 1850 and 2010, the United States was responsible for 23 percent of the global, surface temperature change. The European Union was responsible for 17 percent, China about 10 percent and India 6 percent – for a total of 56 percent.

Explore further: Role of natural aerosols in climate uncertainties underestimated

More information: The complete study is available online: iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9… -9326_9_7_074008.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Climate engineering offers little hope of mitigation

Jul 04, 2014

Injecting particles into the stratosphere to shade and cool the Earth will never stop climate change. This is the shocking claim made in the July issue of Nature Climate Change by an international group ...

NASA's ten-year-old Aura satellite tracks pollutants

Jul 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —NASA's Aura satellite, celebrating its 10th anniversary on July 15, has provided vital data about the cause, concentrations and impact of major air pollutants. With instruments providing key ...

Recommended for you

Report IDs 'major weaknesses' at nuclear-arms lab

11 hours ago

One of the nation's premier nuclear weapons laboratories is being called out by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Energy for "major weaknesses" in the way it packaged contaminated waste before shipping it to ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

holoman
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 17, 2014
Instead of blaming the carbon emissions from cars, truck, planes, power plants, etc. which provides necessary services to the world's populations.

Find a solution that can turn carbon emissions into something good for the planet versus just burying it.

Carbon Emissions are Necessary for Seawater Acidification to Produce Cheap Hydrogen

http://www.altene...en/33897