How Societies Can Stave Off Climate Change, Save Lives, and Increase Agricultural Productivity

A new study led by a NASA scientist highlights 14 key air pollution control measures that if implemented could slow the pace of global warming, save millions of lives and boost agricultural production. All of the control measures focus on either limiting black carbon or methane, pollutants that exacerbate climate change and damage human or plant health.


The research, led by Drew Shindell of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, finds that focusing on black carbon and methane measures could slow global mean warming 0.5ºC (0.9 ºF) by 2050, prevent between 700,000 and 4.7 million premature deaths each year and increase global crop yields by up to 135 million metric tons per season. While all regions of the world would benefit, countries in Asia and the Middle East would see the biggest health and agricultural gains from the emissions controls.


The new study builds upon research featured in an assessment report published last year by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).


In this slideshow, take a closer look at some of the control measures that Shindell's team considered.


Read more about the new research:


Link to Study in Science


Link to UNEP/WMO Assessment Report


Interview with Drew Shindell


Credit: Yale University/Karen Seto

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Taken on January 10, 2012