In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that smog from the extra coal acted to mask greenhouse warming. China’s coal use doubled 2002-2007, according to US government figures.
Although burning the coal produced more warming carbon dioxide, it also put more tiny sulphate aerosol particles into the atmosphere which cool the planet by reflecting solar energy back into space.
Piers Forster from the UK’s Leeds University, who led the IPCC chapter analysing factors affecting global temperatures, said the new study was “interesting and worthwhile”.”The masking of CO2-induced global warming by short term sulphur emissions is well known – it’s believed that the flattening off of global mean temperatures in the 1950s was due to European and US coal burning, and just such a mechanism could be operating today from Chinese coal,” he told BBC News.
via BBC News – Global warming lull down to China’s coal growth.