Burning coal stops global warming, study claims

China’s increased coal usage in the last decade has stopped global warming, according to a new study.

The US-Finnish study claims that increased sulphur emissions have acted as a coolant, NineMSN reports.

Study leader, Boston University professor Robert Kaufmann, said he conducted the study which states that no steady rise in temperatures between 1998 and 2008 disproves global warming.

"Nothing that I had read that other people have done gave me a quick answer to explain that seeming contradiction, because I knew that carbon dioxide concentrations have risen,” he said.

The study identified the burning of coal, particularly in China, as the reason behind this.

According to the study, as the coal burns it emits sulphur, which stops solar rays from reaching the earth.

Kaufmann explained that there has been precedent for his theorem, when greenhouse gases emissions rose dramatically following the reconstruction and economic boom after World War 2.

“What happened was at the same time, sulfur emissions increased very rapidly, thereby cancelling much of the greenhouse gas effect,” he said.

The study stated that global temperatures only began to rise in the 1970s, after developed nations began to reduce sulphur emissions.

However between 2003 and 2007, global coal consumption rose, with China consuming more than three quarters of the output.

But since then the nation has taken steps to curb its pollution emissions, such as installing coal scrubbers to control dust emissions.

"So we already see temperatures starting to increase again. It rose in 2009, it rose in 2010 and that may be one reason for that increase."

Despite apparently linking coal and a reduction in global warming, the study did say that it burning coal contributes to problems such as acid rains.

Kaufmann said using sulphur to battle global warming is like saying “we’ll pick our poison”.

"You could certainly make that argument, but I don’t think many people would view that as a very satisfactory solution, especially if it meant living in a very polluted atmosphere like in China," he said.

Co-authors of the report included Michael Mann, a member of the UN scientific panel whose landmark 2007 report warned that climate change was unequivocal and mostly caused by humans.

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