Friday, July 27, 2012

Capturing CO2 from the air to halt climate change

The climate change impact is increasing because global carbon emissions continue to grow. The increasing amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (mostly the result of burning fossil fuels) has resulted in warmer average temperatures across the globe, which has led to melting of glaciers, raising sea levels and producing more frequent extreme weather events such as hurricanes.

The transition to renewable energy as an alternative to fossil fuels burning still looks many years away and therefore world needs to find other ways to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and stop further warming of our planet.

There has been plenty of talk about different techniques to pull carbon dioxide from the air and store it away but these technologies have yet to become commercially viable.

The currently discussed techniques to capture carbon dioxide from the air all have very high upfront costs but given the fact that climate change impact is becoming increasingly stronger we'll soon be forced to stop worry about costs and focus solely on one thing- reducing the climate change impact regardless of the money involved.

Some scientists fear that the world has already crossed the point where the climate can be stabilized by just reducing greenhouse gas emissions and see techniques to capture carbon dioxide from the air as the only solution to halt further strengthening of the climate change impact.

The science needs to find the way to commercialize techniques to capture carbon dioxide from the air. So far there have been many proposed solutions but we are yet to find one that would be commercially viable.
Many proposed techniques aim to extract CO2 directly from stationary sources such as coal-fired power plants but these techniques do not cover for emissions coming from vehicles and other mobile sources.

The additional problem is that CO2, once it ends in the atmosphere, can stay there for centuries, meaning that any proposal to decrease the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere needs to be long-term solution.

Developing systems to capture CO2 directly from the air is by far the best solution against climate change if science finds the way to capture a lot of CO2 out of the air with a minimum amount of energy used in the process.

The scientists have major tasks ahead of them because climate change is by far the biggest environmental issue of our time, one that could result in catastrophic consequences for our future generations. The politicians have failed to agree on new climate deal, and now all hope lies on science. Let us hope science will be able to find the way to help us all and save this planet from climate change.

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