Reducing Black Carbon Emissions

OneWorld South Asia reports today on the importance of black carbon emission reductions. According to the site, 400,000 women and children die due to smoke inhalation in India alone, and 35% of the world’s black carbon output comes from India and China.

Researchers found that efforts to find alternative technology could reduce heating caused by these emissions by 70-80% in South Asia. The article features researcher Veerabhadran Ramanathan of the Scripps Institute, who is part of a team that is trying to start up an observation program addressing this issue.

Known as Project Surya, the proposed venture would provide some 20,000 rural Indian households with smoke-free cookers and equipped to transmit data. At the same time, a team of researchers led by Ramanathan would observe air pollution levels in the region to measure the effect of the cookers.


2 Responses

  1. Sadly, the truth is that burning coal for power is so much cheaper, especially if there isn’t a flue-gas desulfurization units (scubbers) attached. Cheap power facilitates economic growth. The question is how lax should environmental laws be for developing nations.

    India being classified as a “rogue” nuclear state and with the communist opposition to the US/India nuclear treaty, coal power will probably be the only choice left for base load power generation.

  2. You bring up a very valid point with regard to the conflict amongst envrionmentalists and development advocates. And your rather cynical outlook while disheartening does appear to be the most scalable solution right now. However, a slightly more optimistic view would be to recognize the potential of innovation and to figure out ways to inexpensively incentivize such technologies.

    Right now true renewables are unlikely to reach the scale that India needs. However, this blog has posted on possible innovations that have been invented that addresses the other side of the equation — demand. For example the gravity lamp, which would provide electricity and lighting to the rural poor, without the need for a grid. Also, companies like SelCo are pioneering ways to bring energy to the poor.

    It is easy to focus so much on supply that we often forget that one great opportunity is to figure out means for Indians to reduce their own consumption and improve energy efficiency now before things get worse.

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