One scientist says that the real amount of global warming isbeing masked by air pollution, and if pollution is reduced,the Earth will heat up more quickly. Another scientistclaims acid rain is good, because it slows down globalwarming.

Researcher Meinrat Andreae says tiny particles of sulphur orcarbon in the air help to cool the planet down. Some ofthese particles come from volcanoes, but most of them comefrom the burning of fossil fuels. These aerosol particlesabsorb or scatter radiation from the sun, and create modifyclouds and thus more rain.

Andreae says, “We’ve been in an accelerating car with onefoot on the brake and one foot on the gas?Whether we want itor not, the warming forces are going to overpower thecooling forces and the big question now is just how strongthat effect is going to be.”

Acid rain destroys trees and harms buildings and monuments.But here?s a conundrum: acid rain produced by factoryemissions could return methane (a major cause of globalwarming) to pre-industrial levels.

Jacqueline Ali writes in that most methane isproduced naturally, by microbes in wetlands such as marshes,but they are killed off by bacteria that lives on thesulphate in acid rain, so it may slow down global warming.Dr. Vincent Gauci says, “The model shows that acid rainactually reduces emission to below pre-industrial levels.This shows that at low levels, acid rain is not harming theecosystem. Inadvertently, it could in fact be quite good.”

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