In the case of rapid action to slow catastrophic climate change, the best alternatives appear to be: methane and soot.
“If the world pays attention and puts resources to it, we will see an effect immediately. I’m talking weeks, at most a few months, not decades or centuries.” —atmospheric physicist Veerabhadran Ramanathan of Scripps
— Eliminate methane releases from coal mines—particularly in China—by capturing it and burning it.
— Eliminate the venting or accidental release of methane co-produced by oil drilling (and, of course, gas drilling itself), particularly in Africa, the Middle East and Russia.
— Capture gas from landfills in the U.S. and China as well as promote recycling and composting of biodegradable trash.
— Occasionally aerate flooded rice paddies to prevent the growth of methane-producing microbes.
— Stop leaks from natural gas pipelines, particularly in Russia.
— Use bio-digesters—vessels in which microbes break down manure into gas—to cut methane from livestock globally.
— Update wastewater treatment plants to capture methane.
— Filter the soot produced by incomplete combustion of diesel fuel in vehicles, and attempt to eliminate inefficient internal combustion engine vehicles entirely.
— Replace indoor cooking and heating fires with clean-burning cookstoves fired either by wood, manure or other biomass or, even better, methane.
— Replace traditional brick kilns with more advanced firing methods.
— Replace traditional ovens for turning coal to coke with modern technologies.
— Ban the open burning of crop stubble and other agricultural waste.