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Earth Transportation Science

Cars Emit More Black Carbon Than Previously Thought 292

Posted by timothy
from the grand-circle-of-nature dept.
First time accepted submitter LilaG writes "Gasoline-burning engines put out twice as much black carbon as was previously measured, according to new field methods tested in Toronto. The tiny particles known as black carbon pack a heavy punch when it comes to climate change, by trapping heat in the atmosphere and by alighting atop, and melting, Arctic ice. With an eye toward controlling these emissions, researchers have tracked black carbon production from fossil fuel combustion in gasoline-burning cars and diesel-burning trucks. Until this study was published [abstract of paywalled article], gas-burning vehicles had been thought to be relatively minor players."
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Cars Emit More Black Carbon Than Previously Thought

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  • Here it comes. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by philip.paradis (2580427) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:10AM (#39155921)

    Everybody put on your flame retardant suits in preparation for the inevitable flame war between global warming believers and deniers, which will almost certainly drown out discussion of the technical specifics of the referenced materials.

  • by tragedy (27079) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:26AM (#39155991)

    Why does this treat particulates as only a concern because they contribute to climate change? That's a potential problem, to be sure, but particulate emissions are a much more immediate environmental concern for those breathing them in. If the levels have been underestimated this much, that's a problem for people's health, especially along highways and in cities. Why does climate change have to be the be all and end all of all environmental impact discussions? Is it because it's so contentious and the ongoing feud drives page hits?

  • Math is hard (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:27AM (#39155999)

    But remember kids, no matter how often the math is wrong, you're always right to panic. Oh, and elect people who will take your freedoms away in the name of the math du jour.

  • Re:Here it comes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justconnected . n et> on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:42AM (#39156047)

    True global warming "believers" don't believe, they looked at the available evidence and weighed the opinions of experts and came to a conclusion based on facts and consensus.

    I don't know which side you fall on, so this isn't directed to you, but my personal theory is that people who dismiss the international scientific consensus on global warming have faith that it's not happening, and figure that the "believers" are also arguing based on faith. It's the same as evolution - creationists don't believe in science, so they think that the arguments they fight are based on belief.

    I refuse to play into this. Undoubtedly there are people that "believe" in global warming, and they tend to do things like buy Priuses to replace their 25 MPG Toyotas.

  • Re:Here it comes. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:49AM (#39156077)

    I'm not a denier, or a supporter - I just think it's inevitable.

    China and India are going to have the last word on this issue. I'll leave it to them to fix it. Baring a pandemic, it's going to be their world anyway. This is neither good nor bad, it just is.

  • Re:Here it comes. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rrohbeck (944847) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @02:20AM (#39156479)

    I can't help but wonder if there are hordes of AGW deniers with sockpuppets at the ready. The way anybody criticizing them gets modded down quickly first and then recovers slowly by getting modded back up by reasonable people suggests this.

  • by introcept (1381101) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @02:20AM (#39156481)

    Why does this treat particulates as only a concern because they contribute to climate change? That's a potential problem, to be sure, but particulate emissions are a much more immediate environmental concern for those breathing them in. If the levels have been underestimated this much, that's a problem for people's health, especially along highways and in cities. Why does climate change have to be the be all and end all of all environmental impact discussions? Is it because it's so contentious and the ongoing feud drives page hits?

    Because a short term, localised and fairly minor reduction in people's health is a much smaller problem than an irreversible change to the climate and biosphere of the entire planet. Even if your only concern is health, people's health will suffer a lot more when they have to deal with economic hardship and resource shortages that could result from climate change.

  • Re:Here it comes. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @02:28AM (#39156513) Journal

    but my personal theory is that people who dismiss the international scientific consensus on global warming have faith that it's not happening, and figure that the "believers" are also arguing based on faith.

    You could just ask some real skeptics, the kind who actually do science, why they dismiss the 'scientific consensus.' [wsj.com]

    the claim of 97% support is deceptive. The surveys contained trivial polling questions that even we would agree with. Thus, these surveys find that large majorities agree that temperatures have increased since 1800 and that human activities have some impact..... But what is being disputed is the size and nature of the human contribution to global warming.

    It drives me crazy when people point to a survey like this that shows 97% consensus, and then say, "therefore scientists all think we should send a hundred billion a year to poor countries [guardian.co.uk]." There's no scientific consensus on that at all, nor is there any consensus that there will be a disaster as a result of AGW. If people even read the questions of the surveys they quote, they would understand this.

  • Re:Here it comes. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 25, 2012 @05:39AM (#39157121)

    Contrary to popular myth, wrapping your posts in <tt> tags does not make you look clever or creative. In fact, I have it on good authority that it actually makes you look like a pretentious moron.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @09:12AM (#39157699)

    But Newton (and the consensus behind him) wasn't wrong. It was just incomplete.

    And that is the status of AGW too. There's enough science to know that the fundamental greenhouse effect from CO2 etc. is correct. And to know humans increase the CO2 in the atmosphere. But there's obviously plenty more to to be added to scientific understanding of the effect.

    There's no right/wrong dichotomy. And the deniers are deluded if they think that one day something is going to be discovered that makes if all disappear in a flurry of "mea culpa!'

  • Re:Here it comes. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @09:44AM (#39157825)

    TL;DR.

    But I got as far as your first laughable reference.

    Third, it is trivially proven that there is no genuine consensus among scientists that the warming is caused by humanity, or what to do about it.

    The page promises "More Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims" I followed the link,and opened the 321 PDF. I look at a few random entries. I see economists, they're not scientist. I see the curator of the invertebrates dept of a museum. If he has qualifications at all they are in biology.

    This isn't a list of scientists. It's a list of people. Some of them might be scientists, but not on the pages I happened to skim. And if there are a number of actual scientists there, how many are in fields relating to climate?

    All you've got there is a list of 1000 right wing idiots, some of who have managed to get letters after their name.

  • It's interesting you bring up Newton, because we still use Newtonian physics today for most purposes. Nobody is using quantum physics to model valvetrain dynamics, for example. We use simple molecular models even to figure out how the air will move through the valves. If you're trying to figure out where a bullet goes, you can ask Newton.

    If you're trying to figure out how to reduce AGW, you can work on what you know you're doing wrong, and much of that is CO2 and soot emissions.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @11:36AM (#39158383)

    There are believers and deniers to you. There seems to be no room for anything else. You are either a true believer, or an evil denier.

    I think you mistake what some people claim. They don't claim there will be a big event of "Oh we were all wrong about everything, nothing is getting warmer!" Rather, they think that time will show that the panic was for naught. They believe the theory of action is sound, the predicted results are not.

    For example perhaps the warming is not as much as predicted. That is a valid position since it is all based on computer modeling (and remember models don't prove anything, they model and predict) and as the models have been revised, the estimates for the warming have gone down. Compare the official IPCC prediction from 1990 to the one from 2001. The predicted warming is much less. Neither match the actual temperature record for the past 10 years so perhaps further revision is required.

    Or as another example, perhaps the warming is not problematic. If you read the reports you'll see there is far form a consensus on that. There are multiple scenarios, which are not assigned probabilities. Even among those who are part of the consensus (for lack of a better term) there is disagreement over what might happen and their scenarios are not exhaustive.

    Those are examples of the arguments some people make. Not that it is all a bunch of made up bullshit (yes I'm aware some people make that argument too) that'll get exposed as such, but that it is being blown way out of proportion and we'll look back on it and say "Well that was much ado about nothing."

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @11:54AM (#39158465)

    Yet you seem to think there is such a dichotomy

    No, I think there's shades of grey, with the same old deniers stopping at each shade for a while along the way. Then moving on after they find the old shade of grey untenable. As I posted elsewhere:

    The Republican 9 Step Global Warming Denial Plan
    1) There's no such thing as global warming.
    2) There's global warming, but the scientists are exaggerating. It's not significant.
    3) There's significant global warming, but man doesn't cause it.
    4) Man does cause it, but it's not a net negative.
    5) It is a net negative, but it's not economically possible to tackle it.
    6) We need to tackle global warming, so make the poor pay for it.
    7) Global warming is bad for business. Why did the Democrats not tackle it earlier?
    8) ????
    9) Profit.

  • Re:Here it comes. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by riverat1 (1048260) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @02:09PM (#39159359)

    Most = more than half and usually well more than half. Note that I said "except for the crackpots".

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @02:36PM (#39159489)

    Reading your comment made me think of Isaac Azimov's essay The Relativity of Wrong. [tufts.edu] To quote from it:

    My answer to him was, "John, when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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