In a report issued this month by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which looked at 13 economic sectors, the report concluded that motor vehicles contributed the most to atmospheric warming. In a departure from previous studies which focus on the impacts of individual chemicals, this study looked at where modifications to individual economic sectors may have the greatest impact on slowing or reducing climate change.
A press release issued by NASA notes that the study describes a complex interaction among chemical pollutants which variously have both warming and cooling effects. Thus, in addition to motor vehicles, the burning of household biofuels and raising livestock contribute the most to warming. Yet, the industrial sector releases aerosols into the atmosphere which have a cooling effect. But in discussing the impacts of motor vehicle emissions, the leader of the study Nadine Unger concludes:
“Targeting on-road transportation is a win-win-win, It’s good for the climate in the short term and long term, and it’s good for our health.”