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A new approach to global warming

By Rocky Mountain News
September 14, 2006

A two-pronged approach to stabilizing global warming, with cuts in greenhouse gas emissions combined with the release of heat-reflecting particles into the atmosphere, could prove more effective than either approach used separately, a Boulder climate researcher says.

Injecting sulfate particles into the upper atmosphere could help buy time until the nations of the world can signficantly cut emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, said Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The particles, called sulfate aerosols, would reflect some incoming sunlight back into space and help offset warming due to the burning of fossil fuels, Wigley reports in Friday's edition of the journal "Science." The scheme could provide a grace period of up to 20 years before major cutbacks in greenhouse gas emissions would be required.

"A combined approach to climate stabilization has a number of advantages over either employed separately," Wigley said.

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