Stop Soot, Black Carbon, and Global Warming – Earthjustice

[Music playing] Sometimes it’s the little things that can make big things happen. Fleas and the plague, atoms and nuclear bombs. Diminutive leaders in world history. [Man laughs] Soot is one of these little things. Soot also known as black carbon is released when you burn dung, coal, diesel fuel and wood. [Trunk horn] From Los Angeles to Mumbai, soot causes respiratory illnesses like lung cancer and asthma [Man coughs] and contributes to one point six million premature deaths every year. Mostly among the poor. And it gets worse. Atmospheric currents carry soot thousands of miles from where it is produced, to the Himalayas and the arctic. Black carbon being black, absorbs sunlight, so even a little soot on snow makes it melt faster. And when snow melts global sea levels rise, threatening our freshwater indigenous communities and polar bears who hunt on the arctic ice. [Fish squeaks] Climate Change has been a big thing for awhile and carbon dioxide has been it’s main cause. Scientists estimate that soot causes twenty five percent of human caused global warming.

It’s the second leading cause of arctic warming after carbon dioxide. Let’s not underestimate the impact of this tiny particle. But there’s good news, reducing black carbon maybe the fastest way to slow global warming. Buy time for the arctic. Yes even more so than changing a light blub. Since black carbon only stays in the atmosphere for a couple of weeks, reducing it will produce results immediately. Of course reducing soot alone won’t solve global warming, but solving our soot problem now will help buy time for the arctic and allow us to deal with the bigger problem of carbon dioxide. We have the cleaner industries, cook stoves, and diesel now we have to use them. In developed nations, we’ve significantly reduced our black carbon, but we still have much more to do. [car horn] We need to tighten our standards at home and invest in cleaner technologies in developing nations.

In a world going on seven billion people, you might feel rather little yourself. But if you urge the US government and the European Union to take the lead on black carbon reduction, you can make a big difference. Go to And help stop these little things from causing big trouble. [Music ends].