The technology that will end climate change has been developed at Tufts University in Massachusetts. It extracts CO2 from the atmosphere and converts it to a liquid form, methanol. It is based on research published last year at USC, and builds upon a less clean practice developed by a team in Iceland. Methanol can be used to create renewable fossil fuel that can be burned – polluting the air, sucked out of the atmosphere again and then recycled. Using it this way means that in a sense we can have our cake and eat it too, using the same fuel over and over again, rather than constantly adding new green house gasses to our overburdened atmosphere.
That doesn’t mean we should continue to use fossil fuels. Certainly solar, wind and hydro power are much nicer. Methanol can be used in many excellent ways. We currently rely on Methanol to produce silicone, plastic water bottles, car parts, fleece jackets and some pharmaceuticals. Perhaps we’ll be able to use methanol for 3-D printer ink to make plastic objects we design on our computers.
One of the most versatile materials that can be made from methanol is polyester. It can be the basis for manufacturing many types of fiber for use in clothing, bedding, carpets, tents, upholstery and insulation. It’s water resistant too. Re-purposed methanol can help us make our homes comfortable while keeping the air we breath clean!
How long will it take to get levels of CO2 back down to normal? That’s for someone else to answer, but the sooner the better! Because, there is more CO2 in the air now than there has been in 50 million years and that’s not a situation we can live with.
Since we now have the opportunity to reverse the destructive process that has harmed so much of our planet, we can be optimistic about the future. However, the cleanup may take many years. We can expect more horrible weather including high winds and must be intelligent about growing food locally in our homes and communities.
By Linda Kaidan