London: A new study has revealed that Chinese coal plants, which are thought to increase pollution, are actually preventing the earth from becoming warmer.
Scientists have claimed that sulphur emissions from power plants in China are blocking sunlight, providing a cooling effect on the atmosphere and cancelling out the effect of global warming.
The impact of the sulphur emissions has combined with a cooler stage of the sun’s cycle and a change from the El Nino to the La Nina weather system in the South Atlantic has kept temperatures artificially low, according to the scientists.
If true, this could mean a change in the Sun’s 11-year cycle along with measures to refine Chinese coal boilers will cause temperatures to rise significantly.
But sceptics of man-made climate change said the researchers “tweak an out-of-date climate computer model and cherry-pick the outcome to get their desired result”.
They wrote that man-made climate change between 1999 and 2008 appeared “slower than previous decades because the cooling effects of sulphur emissions grow in tandem with the warming effects of greenhouse gas concentrations.”
These effects “largely cancel after 1998”, they said, allowing natural variables such as Sun activity “to play a more significant role”.
“The masking of CO2-induced global warming by short term sulphur emissions is well known,” the Telegraph quoted Prof Piers Forster, Professor of Climate Change at the University of Leeds, as saying.
“It needs to be emphasised that any masking is short-lived and the increased CO2 from the very same coal will remain in the atmosphere for many decades and dominate the long-term warming,” he added.