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Earth Transportation Science

Cars Emit More Black Carbon Than Previously Thought 292

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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  • Re:Math is hard (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:35AM (#39156029)

    Or better yet, elect people who will put you through a hellish tomorrow to keep the status quo of yesterday, no matter how unsustainable today. Never show fear, and if the math doesn't work out change the numbers.

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

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:49AM (#39156073) Journal

    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.

    Fortunately, the methodology is terribly sloppy anyway, so there's nothing serious to discuss. The researchers directly measured 30 trucks. Then they measured the total cloud of particles downwind of the traffic. There was more carbon than they'd expect given the measured value for trucks and the estimated value for cars. Therefore the cars must be emitting much more on average. Oddly, they never directly measured any cars. The idea that the additional black carbon might be due to some other source besides the cars was apparently not considered.

  • by thatskinnyguy ( 1129515 ) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:54AM (#39156101)
    Estimated? Hell, measured by .5 of actual. What about the places with emissions checks on vehicles? If the findings in this study are true, I want every fucking dime that I've spent on emissions checks over the years back.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 25, 2012 @12:57AM (#39156111)

    Couldn't really have said it better.

    This entire thing with "the only thing bad about X is because of causes global warming" is akin to people looking at March 11, 2011 events in Japan and seeing Fukushima nuclear incident as the only bad thing that happened. Some get so fixated on some issue that they do not see the obviously negative reality staring them in the face. For example, 25,000 dead, cities washed away *yet* it is always like a nuclear power plant caused the tsunami!! And with this story, you have gasoline engines producing significantly more soot than previously believed, yet, it is not an health issue but a climate issue??? Come on!

    This soot has as much to do with systematic climate change as the nuclear plant had to do with 25,000 dead and missing in Japan on March 11th.

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

    by micheas ( 231635 ) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @01:19AM (#39156215) Homepage Journal

    Although it is possible that the other source was the tires from the vehicles.

    I have never seen an explanation of tire and asphalt wear that seemed like it accurately explained what is happening to the rubber compounds in the tire, as the road does not build up, but rather wear down.

    The emissions from gasoline engines in modern motor vehicles is amazingly low, so tires and lubricants might actually be noticeable. But this is just speculation, sort of like the conclusions of the report.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @07:02AM (#39157309)

    The problem I see is that someone gets labeled a "denialist" if they don't take everything, part and parcel. If they disagree with anything an advocate says they are a "denialist" and "ignoring science". Well no, because there are different levels to the whole thing. To run it down:

    --First there's fact of global warming: That average surface temperature is increasing, outside of known cycles. This is a claim of fact, a claim of an observation about what is. Provided the measurements it is based on are accurate, it isn't up for debate. Only thing you can question is if the measurements are indeed correct.

    --Then there's the theory to explain that fact: That the primary or exclusive cause of this warming is an increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere due to human emissions. This is the basic theory of global warming. It is a scientific theory, in that it proposes a logical explanation for the relation of the facts at hand. Like all theories, it can be argued. You can agree with all the facts underlying a theory, but disagree with the theory as the explanation because it is incomplete, because it can be falsified, etc.

    Now if that's all there was, then ok. However we go on.

    --Next there's the assumption/assertion that this change is a net bad thing for humanity. This is not a theory, this is a claim based on some theories and some hypothesis, often with flimsy or no evidence. This isn't a situation where you have a single theory you can evaluate. You have all kinds of claims being made, and also other claims being dismissed or ignored. It is an overall position that the many changes will be a net negative to humanity, even a catastrophe.

    --Finally there's the policy/politics of what to do about it: That the only solution is to massively decrease CO2 output and to achieve this we use things like carbon credits and so on. This is not at all in the realm of science, this policy, or politics. There are other suggested solutions that could be debated for their merits, there is question if this solution would even be effective over all. However it is the one that many advocates seem to propose as the One True Way(tm).

    So therein lies the problem. Anyone who dares disagree with any part of this is lumped in as a "denialist". Someone could say "I agree with the measurements, and I think they theory of warming is correct. However I disagree it will be a net negative, I think it will be a net positive," and they get labeled as a "denalist," and "anti-science." Someone could even say "I agree it is happening and is a net negative, however I don't think CO2 reduction will help, I think we need to instead spend money to be able to deal with the change, since even if it didn't happen, another non-man made change would anyhow and we need to survive them," and again with the "denialist" and "anti-science" claims.

    Hence why people start talking about AGW proponents as being true believers and acting like religious folk. It is this position of "You have to accept and agree with EVERYTHING, otherwise you are a moron/against us/etc." Sorry but that isn't how science works. If you want to talk science you have to limit your debate to scientific theories and facts (remember facts are observations about what is, theories explain the relations of the facts). That doesn't mean you can't talk about what should be done, but you can't claim that the "science" only supports one answer. That's not how it works.

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

    by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @08:56AM (#39157649)


    From the link: "The well over 1,000 dissenting scientists are almost 20 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers."

    Oh wow!!! LOL!

    You can tell that the guy who wrote this was a producer for Rush Limbaugh's show.

    How sad, what riches awaited you in the next paragraph. If only you could have made the jump of a blank line....but I guess you can only expect so much of people. But still, it is odd that you chose to stop there. It is almost as if you didn't want people to read the next paragraph at the link [climatedepot.com]. I wonder why?

    The chorus of skeptical scientific voices grew louder in 2010 as the Climategate scandal -- which involved the upper echelon of UN IPCC scientists -- detonated upon on the international climate movement. "I view Climategate as science fraud, pure and simple," said noted Princeton Physicist Dr. Robert Austin shortly after the scandal broke. Climategate prompted UN IPCC scientists to turn on each other. UN IPCC scientist Eduardo Zorita publicly declared that his Climategate colleagues Michael Mann and Phil Jones "should be barred from the IPCC process...They are not credible anymore." Zorita also noted how insular the IPCC science had become. "By writing these lines I will just probably achieve that a few of my future studies will, again, not see the light of publication," Zorita wrote. A UN lead author Richard Tol grew disillusioned with the IPCC and lamented that it had been "captured" and demanded that "the Chair of IPCC and the Chairs of the IPCC Working Groups should be removed." Tol also publicly called for the "suspension" of IPCC Process in 2010 after being invited by the UN to participate as lead author again in the next IPCC Report. [Note: Zorita and Tol are not included in the count of dissenting scientists in this report.]

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