UNEP sounds alarm over global implications of Asian pollution cloud

A huge brown cloud of pollution over Asia could have global climate and health implications, according to a new study by a scientist team of UNEP.

A group of scientists, working for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), published a report "The Asian Brown Cloud: Climate and other Environmental Impacts". The report indicates that a huge brown cloud consisting of ash, soot, acids, aerosol gases and other particles is creating serious environmental problems in Asia by restricting the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth. According to Klaus Töpfer, the head of UNEP, the brown cloud "is the result of forest fires, the burning of agricultural wastes, dramatic increases in the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles, industries and power stations, and emissions from millions of inefficient cookers burning wood, cow dung and other 'bio-fuels".

The Asian cloud could change weather patterns on a global scale, according to UNEP officials. The chaotic weather conditions in some parts of Europe this summer are raising questions about climate change effects a few weeks before the start of the global environmental conference in Johannesburg.


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