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Researchers constrain the sources of climate- and health-afflicting air pollution from China

Particulate air pollution from incomplete combustion is affecting climate over East Asia more than carbon dioxide and cause premature deaths of over half a million annually in China alone, yet its sources have been poorly understood. In this week’s issue of Environmental Science and Technology (journal of the American Chemical Society) a research team from China, Sweden, USA and South Korea use a powerful carbon-14 method to show that four-fifths of the soot particle air pollution are from fossil fuel combustion such as household cooking with coal briquettes and city traffic, drastically changing the view on sources and guiding efforts to mitigate emissions.