A number of scientists have suggested that melting ice in the Arctic and rising Arctic temperatures may have as much to do with ash deposits (mainly from man-made combustion) than from other causes. In particular, plants in China are not well-designed to capture the combustion by-products as well as we do here in the US. Mike Smith has an interesting set of photos of the quite rapid melting effect ash can have on snow pack.
There is actually good news here. The problem with CO2 abatement (vs. abatement of about any other pollutant you can think of) is that CO2 is fundamental to the combustion process. We can eliminate most of the SO2 or ash pollution from coal burning, but not the CO2. As I posted just yesterday, I would love to see an effort to clean up the Chinese coal plants — this ash issue is just another reason. Unfortunately, global warming alarmists are working against this goal. First, they focus attentino on getting China to get rid of coal plants altogether, a non-starter. But second, warming alarmists don’t want the Chinese to clean up their coal plants, because they fear that this would make it politically easier for them to keep them running.