All Earth wants for Christmas? A sock for its coal

December 4, 2004

Concerns about greenhouse gases and global warming are getting scientists to think in unconventional ways about how to stem the carbon dioxide tide. Indiana University Bloomington geologist Chen Zhu is trying to determine if - and how - a new strategy known as "carbon sequestration" can work.

Zhu and other scientists believe it may be possible to grab carbon dioxide before it shoots out of power plant smokestacks, diverting it to geological carbon sinks that trap carbon dioxide forever. Or, at least, for a very long time.

Zhu isn't suggesting humans stop worrying about more conventional methods of reducing greenhouse gases, such as simply producing less of them. Rather, he thinks humans should adopt all available strategies to reduce the gases.

Extra greenhouse gases are produced across the United States in December and January as plant matter degrades and power stations work overtime to keep Americans warm. Measurements made at Hawaii's Mauna Loa Observatory earlier this year showed atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have hit an all-time high -- about 380 parts per million (by volume), which may be as much as a 36 percent increase in carbon dioxide levels since pre-industrial times.

Source: Indiana University

Explore further: What's the carbon footprint of an email?

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