Posted by: Ted | January 25, 2010

Acid Rain vs Global Warming!

From Popular Science Feb. 2010
The International Maritime Organization, which oversees the
shipping industry, will begin enforcing rules this July that mandate
cleaner fuel to cut air pollution and acid rain. Ironically, this
eco-motivated change will undo one of our strongest, if accidental,
defenses against climate change.
The regulations call for reducing the sulfur in shipping
fuel—which is basically unrefined petroleum sludge—from 4.5
to 0.5 percent by 2020. Scientists project that this switch will cut
sulfur-pollution-related premature deaths from 87,000 worldwide
per year to 46,000. But the sulfate aerosols spewing from
supertanker smokestacks also produce planet-cooling clouds
called ship tracks, which form when water droplets coalesce
around sulfate particles. These clouds, which are big enough
to be seen from orbit, reflect sunlight back into space, preventing
the equivalent of up to 40 percent of the warming caused by
human-produced carbon dioxide. “The IMO has done a good job
addressing air-quality issues,” says Daniel Lack, an atmospheric
scientist at NOAA. “But there’s a climate impact that wasn’t necessarily
Worse, the fuel switch won’t improve ships’ carbon emissions—
if the industry were a country, it would be the sixth-largest
CO2 emitter. The IMO plans to regulate CO2, but until then, it
might be best to leave well enough alone.—CHRISTOPHER MIMS


  1. No government or non-governmental agency with any kind of power has any desire to “leave well enough alone.”

    What was Reagan’s stance on government? “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.”

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