Pollution

Multitaskers take note: Simple is in, at least as far as reducing global warming says a new study published in the journal Science, led by NASA scientist, Drew Shindell.

With accelerating debates circling the climate-change issue of carbon dioxide, new concerns over offenders including methane and black carbon are now garnering attention and driving new explorations on how to reduce their impact on the environment. The study, titled “Simultaneously Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change and Improving Human Health and Food Security,” found that rather simple interventions could decrease emissions and trap methane, offering big results, according to Shindell.

Citing a one degree Fahrenheit drop by mid-century in global temperature as a result of reduced methane and black carbon (soot), the study also found through simulations that the resulting better air quality would also prevent some human health risks including lung and cardiovascular diseases, with the potential to save as many as 4.7 million lives per year. And, improved air quality would have benefits for food production as well—possibly as much as increased global crop yields of 135 tons annually—as major crops including rice, corn, wheat and soy could more effectively pull nutrients through the cleaner air.

Recommended reduction methods include the elimination of wood-burning stoves, reducing emissions from diesel-powered vehicles and improving methane capture methods from coal mines and other sources, which are relatively simple measures in theory, cites the study researchers who looked at more than 400 possible methods of reducing impact on the environment throughout industry, agriculture and energy sectors. Fourteen out of the 400 were identified by the research team as the most relatively simple and effective measures that could be easily implemented.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: jon smith.