Sunday, August 3, 2008

Earth-1, C02-0

8.38 gigatons. Again, 8.38 gigatons. Carbon Dioxide emissions in the atmosphere were recorded in 2006 at 8.38 gigatons, up 20% from 2000. It’s hard to even fathom that figure. We are killing our planet at an increasingly rapid pace. Although economies overseas continue to flourish, so does the global CO2 output. India is building record numbers of coal-burning plants. China is averaging two new plants per week. Emissions are growing at a pace of about 3% annually. The effects on the atmosphere, the eco-system, and even our weather patterns have been evident to everyone over the last decade.

So what kind of cool stuff is being done to mitigate these effects? Thank goodness Time Magazine recently detailed several ways scientists are attempting to clean up our mess. The article’s first two solutions aim to increase our ocean’s ability to consume the carbon in our atmosphere. However, generally speaking, both strategies involve drastically changing the ecology of the oceans, which many professionals are uncomfortable with at this point in time. The other solution explains how technology, in the form of carbon “scrubbers”, could absorb the CO2 as air passes between them. One Columbia University physicist claims, “If we built one the size of the Great Wall of China, and it removed 100% of the CO2 that went through it, it would capture half of all the emissions in the world.” That’s a lot of emissions! About 4.19 gigatons if my math is correct.

The down side you ask? Well, actually… Is there a downside? “Scrubbing” produces liquid CO2. Okay, that sounds bad, right? Not so fast… Believe it or not, there’s actually a market for this. Many farmers pay up to $300 a ton for it. One method of use t is to make dry ice, which helps food services and beverage industries freeze, chill, and transport their products. So there’s no down side? Sounds fishy, right?

My suggestion? Manufacture a million of these bad boys and lets ensure our that our grandchildren don’t have to see polar bears in a museum.

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