While developed countries and regions have long been culprits for Earth’s rising greenhouse gas emissions, Cornell researchers – balancing the role of aerosols along with carbons in the equation – now predict a time when developing countries will contribute more to climate change than advanced societies: 2030.
Published in Environmental Research Letters (July 11), the new study was designed to inform international policymakers on the role of aerosols, as opposed to strictly greenhouse gases, when consideringclimate change mitigation.
“Historically, between 1850 and 2010, the United States and the European Union have contributed the most to Earth’s climate change. But the portion of global surface temperature change from human activities attributable to developing countries is increasing,” said Dan Ward, Cornell postdoctoral researcher and the study’s lead author. Natalie Mahowald, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, is the senior author.
“In light of all factors, including our understanding of aerosols, we estimate that developing countries will surpass the contribution from developed countries around year 2030,” Ward said.