The link below is to a fascinating thread by some very smart people. The reason I found it was because I was wondering if the absence of particulate (dust/ash/smoke) from power generation, etc. was in some way counter-intuitively contributing to global warming.
Without high levels of CO2, we would ALL DIE - sci.geo.meteorology | Google Groups
Note the following entry, from the bottom of the thread:
have seen a next factor. In nature all wildfire were outdoors and energy
from open flame were radiated in space. Now all is burned indoor and no open
flame so the radiation is lower. It is also a small contribution to warming.
To restore the natural conditions we must at least load the atmosphere with
proper particulates. May be that very clean air is not the best solution.
What this is all saying, is that before the international campaign to clean up power plants, power generated by burning fossil fuels or other biomass dispersed ash & other particulates into the atmosphere. This altered the albedo, regionally, by reducing the sunlight that made it through to the planet / increasing the light energy reflected by the atmosphere.
The argument is that "clean power" results in contributions of CO2 into the atmosphere, without the accompanying balance of smoke particles to reflect a commensurate level of light back into space.
In short, clean coal power is worse than dirty coal power.
All that said, I think the lobby against nuclear power in the U.S. is growing increasingly weak, and would suspect that globally, virtually all power will be generated by nuclear facilities in the next 30 years or so. It would be a great, great tragedy if this was not the case.
Combine an abundance of clean power with technologies like carbon nanotubes, and making things "go" will be a very cheap and easy thing to do indeed.