I’ve been reading Al Gore’s new book, with a view to using it for both my MS and continuing ed classes this spring at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs. It’s looking pretty good to me as there are excellent up-to-date perspectives on all sorts of important topics, particularly the promise of renewables, energy efficiency, green building and biosequestration, among others, as well as the blind, expensive path down which more nuclear power and carbon capture and storage (CCS) lead. (I’ve written about all of this here.)
Gore has an excellent discussion of the greenhouse gases, anthropogenically produced, that are wreaking the havoc that concerns us. What’s so useful and interesting is that he fully discusses all of the six families of pollutants involved. He presents a graphic that reflects the work of NASA’s Dr. Drew Shindell and his colleagues as presented in an article in “Science” a few weeks ago: Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions. A greater recognition of and concern for methane’s contribution got a lot of the play at the time – see this, for instance, from “The Times” – but there is also more evidence now for the critical role that black carbon plays in warming. (Shindell has been very involved in furthering the research on BC’s radiative forcing and how effective it could be to radically reduce its contributions.)
Here’s my representation of the new percentages that Dr. Shindell et al reflect in their recent “Science” paper.