electricity – is converted to black carbon when burned, at levels previously overlooked in greenhouse gas estimates.
In comparison, only half of 1 per cent of the emissions from burning wood is converted to black carbon.
Researchers found that there is a twenty-fold increase in estimates of black carbon emissions from kerosene-fuelled lighting.
Previous estimates come from established databases used by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change and others.
One kilogramme of black carbon, a by-product of incomplete combustion and an important greenhouse gas, produces as much warming in a month as 700 kilogrammes of carbon dioxide does over 100 years, researchers said.
“The orange glow in flames comes from black carbon, so the brighter the glow, the more black carbon is being made,” said study principal investigator Tami Bond.
“If it’s not burned away, it goes into the atmosphere,” Bond said in a statement.
While officials from around the world are seeking effective policies and guidelines for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers note that the simple act of replacing kerosene lamps could pack a wallop toward that effort.
“There are many inexpensive, cleaner alternatives to kerosene lamps that are available now, and few if any barriers to switching to them,” said Smith.
A recent epidemiological study in Nepal led by Smith and other researchers found that women who reported use of kerosene lamps in the home had 9.4 times the rate of tuberculosis compared with those who did not use such lamps.
- Kerosene lamps spew black carbon, should be replaced (scienceblog.com)
- Let there be clean light: Kerosene lamps spew black carbon, should be replaced, study says (phys.org)
- Another hole in the climate models – no lamp black forcing (wattsupwiththat.com)
- Study: Kerosene lamps spew black carbon, should be replaced (rdmag.com)
- CO2 hit record high in 2011 – UN report (guardian.co.uk)