Thursday, August 13, 2015

Methods to Cut CO2 Levels in the Atmosphere

In an effort to curb the effects of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, Richard Branson, the chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., has offered a $25 million dollar prize for the best solution to our CO2 problem in the field of geoengineering. These efforts are made with a sense of urgency, as scientists wish to curb the negative effects to limit the warming of 2 degrees Celsius. Branson's prize involves the best method of mitigation, rather then attempting to tinker with the planet's climate. "Climate intervention involves techniques that are of high and unknown risk, but the risks of mitigation and adaption are understood and manageable," says David Titley, a professor in Pennsylvania State University's department of meteorology. One finalist for the $25 million dollar prize is an organization called Smart Stones. This group is working with olivine (shown above), a mineral which can absorbs CO2. according to Olaf Schuiling, an advisor of Smart Stones, one ton of olivine can absorb one ton of CO2. If olivine was crushed and scattered across the land, Schuiling says that "each year as much CO2 is absorbed by this method as is emitted by humans." Another finalist is Climeworks AG, which is working on capturing CO2 in filters an using the gas for things like injecting greenhouses to promote plant growth or carbonate drinks. Biochar Co. is working on a method to take waste wood and turn it into a material called biochar, which locks CO2 into soil for hundreds or even thousands of years. With the sense of urgency that scientists now have for finding methods to curb the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere, as well as the $25 million dollar incentive to find the best way to mitigate CO2, many good ideas are coming from the scientific community. It might soon be possible that everyday homeowners will be able to take olivine or biochar and put it in our backyards, or even something else entirely that has not been conceived yet, in order to do our part for our planet.

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