Pollution has its benefits.
With fewer particulates being released by smokestacks and cars, there are fewer aerosols in the atmosphere. Fewer aerosols means that more solar radiation hits the ground. With more sunlight hitting the Earth, the Earth warms up–faster than many scientists had initially predicted.
Calculations by Jan Magnus, Bertrand Melenberg, and Chris Muris, econometricians at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, suggest that carbon dioxide emissions will have to be reduced by an additional 50 million tons to compensate for the additional solar radiation reaching the surface. That’s just to keep the temperature rise to 2 degrees Centigrade!
The Clean Air Act of 1970 gave us clear blue skies and pure white snows, but they weren’t counting on enhanced carbon dioxide emissions to accelerate the warming process.
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Learn how albedo affects global temperature with our models in the “What will Earth’s climate be in the future?” investigation.