Reducing Methane and Soot Will Reduce Warming, Study Says

A team of scientists says that governments can significantly reduce global warming, and prevent millions of premature deaths, by targeting emissions of methane and soot. In a new study published in the journal Science, the researchers say strategies that target those emissions and use existing technologies could shave nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit off the warming projected by mid-century. And with efforts to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the main cause of climate change, largely stalled, it represents a cheaper and more attainable approach. Strategies to reduce methane emissions include improving methods of capturing gas from mines and oil and gas facilities and reducing leaks from pipelines and landfills; soot levels can be cut with more efficient filters for diesel vehicles, cleaner-burning cook stoves, and bans on burning agricultural land. “Ultimately, we have to deal with CO2, but in the short term, dealing with these pollutants is more doable, and it brings fast benefits,” said Drew Shindell, the lead author and researcher at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.