Dealing with climate change could bring unexpected benefits, the Science Museum of London will unveil next month. A special exhibition of carbon capture, a new technology for emitting greenhouse gases and emissions from factories, will showcase vodka bottles, toothpaste tubes, pens and yoga mats made of carbon dioxide.
In addition, the exhibition – Our Future Planet – will showcase the types of gas harvesting machines that can provide this carbon. It includes an artificial Lackner tree that shows the activity of living plants by inhaling carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. The machine, similar to Heath Robinson – made of carbon hanging panels – was developed by Klaus Lackner at Arizona State University and will be the first to be shown in Britain.
Also to be revealed will be a Swiss Climeworks carbon extractor program and a carbon capture device developed at Aberdeen University. All of them can remove carbon from the air, used in alcohol or products such as Open Air toothpaste. Tomorrow’s flavor can be flavored with carbon dioxide in the air. “These items highlight the importance of research to help protect the planet from the effects of global warming,” added Sophie Waring, curator of the exhibition, which will begin on May 19.
But Our Future Planet also makes it clear that even the largest collection of these metals can now emit only a few tens of tons of carbon a year – compared to the 50 billion tons of gasoline hot cars and year-old additives in the atmosphere. “It’s a big problem,” said Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. “We need to extract carbon from the air because it is unlikely that cutting greenhouse gas emissions alone could be achieved quickly enough to prevent global warming in this century.”
“We have to do more than stop the carbon dioxide to enter the atmosphere. We also need to find ways to remove it after it has been placed there. Simply planting trees and shrubs will not be enough to solve the problem. The exhibition shows how urgent it is to develop and distribute these new technologies on a large scale to make a real difference in the fight against climate change, ”added Ward, the exhibition’s advisor.
The problem of global warming has recently been highlighted by the UK Geological Society which has indicated that carbon dioxide can now be felt in our atmosphere at a rate “unprecedented in almost every geological period” on our planet. Levels may have been high at some point but have never risen as fast as their current rise. “As the climate changes, the planet we live on will face other changes that will have far-reaching effects on human societies,” warns the public.
Carbon8 – in total, part of the Our Future Planet exhibition at the Science Museum
Carbon8 – in total, part of the Our Future Planet exhibition at the Science Museum. Photo: Jennie Hills / Science Museum Group
Last month atmospheric gas levels reached 417ppm (parts per million) compared to 280ppm in pre-industrial times. And given that carbon dioxide absorbs the sun’s rays, it means that the gas is warming the air above us, causing extreme weather patterns, water shortages, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and crop failures.
Over the next few weeks, a series of international climate summits will be held, including an international conference chaired by President Joe Biden. This is planned ahead of the COP26 weather talks in Glasgow in November. Unlike its predecessor, Biden is committed to global warming and is expected to announce that the US will introduce tougher measures to reduce carbon emissions as soon as possible. Such travel can have a profound effect on other lands.
But even if all nations – including China and India – followed, the world would still be on a dangerous path, many scientists have warned. Only by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to create “unhealthy pollution” will be able to keep global temperatures down to 1.5 to 2C above pre-industrial levels, they say. Because of this, carbon capture systems need to be implemented immediately.
Carbon capture without its green critics, however. Some environmental scientists believe it is being developed as an alternative to cutting off carbon emissions and not as an additional way to control global warming. They also criticized the Science Museum for involving petrol company Shell as a sponsor of the exhibition.
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In fact, carbon capture technology has two distinct roles, says geologist Professor Stuart Haszeldine, of Edinburgh University. “First, it can be installed in coal and coal-fired power stations and industries and used to capture carbon dioxide that could otherwise be emitted. These can be lightened and stored underground, for example in depleted oil fields.
“However, technology can also be used to repel carbon dioxide from the air, to remove carbon dioxide that has already been extracted. Most importantly we need carbon capture and carbon recycling if we are to reduce the negative effects of global warming and at the same time we are efficient in our use of carbon. ”
Doing this at an effective level will be very difficult. However, devices like the Lackner tree and the Climeworks chipper provide a promising route, adding Haszeldine. “They can be developed very quickly to make future generations cheaper and more efficient.
“It’s like a cell phone. Twenty years ago they were expensive and difficult to use but they have been continuously improved. We can do that with carbon cameras like Climeworks and Lackner devices and we can end up being wi