Researchers urge dual effort on gases

Merging separate fights against air pollution and climate change could save money and encourage developing nations such as China to do more to curb global warming, according to Norwegian researchers, Reuters reported. The two problems are governed by separate international treaties despite sharing some gases, including nitrogen oxides and methane.


"There are big gains to be made" from a combined policy, said Petter Tollefsen, a researcher at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) in Oslo. As well as saving money on pollution-related problems — including health care — measures to control air pollution can be part of a longer-term drive to rein in emissions of greenhouse gases, the study suggested.


Developing nations such as China and India might do more to fight climate change if the effort were viewed as a spin-off of a drive to protect public health and food supplies, CICERO said. "China’s priority is to control air pollution," said researcher Kristin Aunan. "The cost of a climate policy is not as high as perhaps the Chinese government perceives. In China, climate policy is treated as foreign affairs – it’s not integrated into environmental policy."


One complicating factor, though, is that some types of air pollution can help to curb global warming. Some particles emitted by burning fossil fuels reflect sunlight back into space, cooling the earth.


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