The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Is China’s Cleaner Air Making The Rest of the Planet Warmer?

Is China’s Cleaner Air Making The Rest of the Planet Warmer?
30 September 2020
 

The success of China’s clean air policies may result in additional global warming for the entire northern hemisphere.

In a new paper published in Environmental Research Letters, researchers have discovered that policies focussed on reducing emissions of major air pollutants (such as sulfur dioxide) also affect “radiative forcing”.

According to the authors of the research: “The success of Chinese policies to further reduce aerosol emissions may bring additional net warming, and this 'unmasked' warming would in turn compound the challenge and urgency of international climate mitigation efforts.”

 

What is Radiative Forcing?

 

Radiative forcing is the difference between the incoming energy from the sun that gets trapped by the Earth’s atmosphere and outgoing energy that the Earth reflects back to space.

As reported in Wired.com, the team of researchers from China and the United States analysed emissions data between 2006 and 2017 during China’s air cleanup efforts. Sulfur dioxide emissions were cut by 70 per cent during this period. 

By forecasting radiative forcing, the team found that after around a century at the current emission-reduction rate, more energy would reach the earth, resulting in “a total warming of 0.1 degrees Celsius”

The study also reported that this radiative forcing may also affect the precipitation rates in East Asia and in more distant regions.

 

More Efforts Needed to Mitigate Climate Change

 

The study concludes that anti-pollution measures taken to achieve health objectives can often “trade-off with climate goals”, and that this will represent a long-term challenge in the countries sustainability goals:

“Although aerosol emissions have been substantially reduced in China during the past decade, air pollution in China remains a serious problem. For example, until 2017, 64 per cent of prefecture-level cities in China failed to meet the national annual standard.

“Therefore, tougher emission control policies can be expected in China to further improve air quality and thereby protect public health.”

Picture: a photograph of Bejing's cityscape 

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 30 September 2020

Share



Related Articles

Climate Change Denier Blames Computer Warming Predictions

A leading climatologist has said that the computer simulations that are used to predict global warming are failing on a key measure of the climate today and cannot be...

 Read Full Article
London's Outdoor Workers Are Breathing More Pollution Than Most

New research shows outdoor workers in London are exposed to 15% more pollution than the average. “We are building the evidence base that proves government must act...

 Read Full Article
Electric Vehicles To Make Road Charges Rise

The popularity of electric vehicles could lead to nationwide road tolls for all drivers totalling £700 a year, according to financial experts. A new report by...

 Read Full Article
All Electric Dust Carts Hit The City Of London

Plans for the UK's first fully electric refuse fleet have been revealed as Veolia has signed a new tech-driven City of London waste contract. The City of London...

 Read Full Article
ULEZ Launches - Just A First Step Says London Assembly

The world’s first 24 hour Ultra Low Emission Zone covering central London got going on Monday April 8 but Caroline Russell of the London Assembly Environment...

 Read Full Article
ULEZ Starts As Two Million Still Suffering Toxic Air

With Monday April 8 the date that the new London Ultra Low Emission Zone comes in to force, the latest data shows two million Londoners are living with illegal toxic...

 Read Full Article
Living, Working, Breathing - 18 Million Face Unsafe Levels Of Pollution

Nearly 18 million NHS patients live, work and visit their GPs in English areas which breach pollution limits new figures show. That's 7.5 million NHS patients in...

 Read Full Article
Group Sues Council Over £600m Incinerator Contract

A community group is taking Gloucestershire County Council to court over the award of a £600 million incinerator contract. Community R4C, a non-profit mutual...

 Read Full Article
Action Required To Halt A Return To Deadly Smog

First Mile has released a new image to illustrate the reality of pollution in London. The harrowing depiction is of what London could look like if air quality is not...

 Read Full Article
Growing Greenhouse Gasses Hamper 2030 Targets

Greenhouse gas emissions across the European Union rose slightly in 2017, mostly because of the transport sector. Preliminary estimates published on October 26 in the...

 Read Full Article