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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Aug 29;97(18):9875-80.

Global warming in the twenty-first century: an alternative scenario.

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University Earth Institute, and Center for Environmental Prediction, Rutgers University, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY, USA.


A common view is that the current global warming rate will continue or accelerate. But we argue that rapid warming in recent decades has been driven mainly by non-CO(2) greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as chlorofluorocarbons, CH(4), and N(2)O, not by the products of fossil fuel burning, CO(2) and aerosols, the positive and negative climate forcings of which are partially offsetting. The growth rate of non-CO(2) GHGs has declined in the past decade. If sources of CH(4) and O(3) precursors were reduced in the future, the change in climate forcing by non-CO(2) GHGs in the next 50 years could be near zero. Combined with a reduction of black carbon emissions and plausible success in slowing CO(2) emissions, this reduction of non-CO(2) GHGs could lead to a decline in the rate of global warming, reducing the danger of dramatic climate change. Such a focus on air pollution has practical benefits that unite the interests of developed and developing countries. However, assessment of ongoing and future climate change requires composition-specific long-term global monitoring of aerosol properties.

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