Carbon Dioxide is the second most common greenhouse gas in the atmosphere after water vapor, and in terms of manmade greenhouse gases, it is number 1. Reducing humans carbon dioxide pollution is the simplest and most effective way to slow down the effects of manmade climate change. Despite their reputation, greenhouse gases are necessary for life on earth. They work by trapping energy emitted by the sun in the earth’s atmosphere, allowing for warm atmospheric temperature. The problem arises when the natural balance of greenhouse gases is disrupted. For hundreds of thousands of years before the advent of modern technology, greenhouse gas emissions stayed roughly equal, moving up and down slightly but never jumping or dropping hugely. The introduction of the combustion engine and burning coal and fossil fuels to generate energy upset this balance, introducing more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

smokestack

Smokestacks

Many possible solutions to the problem of carbon emissions have been, and some have been put into place. Carbon Dioxide scrubber technology is one of the most logical and practical, and in some instances has already been implemented. Smokestack scrubbers, which can help to clean the smoke emitted by power plant, are already in use in some places, and the technology is growing fast. The idea behind using the scrubbers on smokestacks is to limit the further damage to the environment by reducing the pollution at the source, significantly limiting the amount of CO2 and other pollutants released by the plants it is used on. This same technology could theoretically be applied to vehicles, although it would have to be scaled down significantly in both size and price to work. The more ambitious application of this technology involves physically removing CO2 that is already in the atmosphere.

Conceptual design of an atmospheric carbon scrubber

Conceptual design of an atmospheric carbon scrubber

This proposition is far more difficult than removing CO2 from smokestacks, because the percentage of CO2 in the air is only 0.04%, meaning that to remove significant amounts, you would need a much larger scale operation to be effective. This technology is far more revolutionary, as it actually allows us to reverse the effects of global warming and lower the greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. Almost all other proposed solutions to the problem involve slowing down or stopping our emissions, but actually removing CO2 allows us to reverse the effects of climate change.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/02/02/mit-researchers-developing-better-way-scrub-smokestack-pollution/FDvpDH4TszfMy7Rsicp1FK/story.html

http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7a.html

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/feb/04/man-made-greenhouse-gases

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/ghg/ghg-concentrations.html

http://www.power-eng.com/articles/2013/03/us-coal-fired-power-plants-invested-more-than-30bn-on-scrubbers-.html

http://phys.org/news141915261.html

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