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The burning of biomass for cooking, heating and lighting — a daily event for about half of the world's population, mostly in the developing world — accounts for a substantial proportion of global emissions of greenhouse gases, according to new research.

A study published in the Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry suggests that such domestic uses of biomass produce 17 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, 13 per cent of carbon monoxide emissions and 6 per cent of nitric oxide emissions.

But according to Joel S Levine at the NASA Langley Research Center, United States, the study is the first attempt to quantify global emissions of gases from these activities.

Writing in the journal Nature, Levine says, "most burning [of biomass] occurs during human-initiated land clearance and changes in land use. [But] a large component is due to the use of biomass fuels for domestic activities. That component has not previously been quantified".

Link to Nature article

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