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Pollution Scrubbing Roundup

August 24, 2012

Newly developed materials can pull carbon dioxide out of the air.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Giving forests a hand. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Plants are the champions at sucking up CO2 that otherwise would add to global warming, but researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are working on ways to augment them. They’re studying new adsorbant materials that pull CO2 out of the air. They calculate that a unit the size of a shipping container could remove a thousand tons of the gas per year. And while burning less fossil fuel is the direct way to reduce greenhouse gases, the new technology could help remove what’s already there.

In other news, before the 2008 Summer Olympics, the Chinese government enacted strict traffic laws in Beijing to reduce pollution. Now the National Center for Atmospheric Research reports that CO2 emissons there dropped by as much as 100,000 tons over the course of the Olympics—evidence that changes in urban transportation can have massive environmental payoffs. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Forests are important for removing carbon dioxide, but scientists are developing additional methods for pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere. (Susanne Bard)