Abstract. The interactions between aeolian dust and anthropogenic air pollution, notably chemical ageing of mineral dust and coagulation of dust and pollution particles, modify the atmospheric aerosol composition and burden. Since the aerosol particles can act as cloud condensation nuclei, this affects the radiative transfer not only directly via aerosol–radiation interactions, but also indirectly through cloud adjustments. We study both radiative effects using the global ECHAM/MESSy atmospheric chemistry-climate model (EMAC) which combines the Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy) with the European Centre/Hamburg (ECHAM) climate model. Our simulations show that dust–pollution–cloud interactions reduce the condensed water path and hence the reflection of solar radiation. The associated climate warming outweighs the cooling that the dust–pollution interactions exert through the direct radiative effect. In total, this results in a net warming by dust–pollution interactions which moderates the negative global anthropogenic aerosol forcing at the top of the atmosphere by (0.2 ± 0.1) W m−2.