Why we should turn one greenhouse gas into another

May 30, 2019, 8:18 AM EDT
(Source: Takver/flickr)
(Source: Takver/flickr)

According to a recent paper published in Nature Sustainability, we can give ourselves more time to rein in climate change by resorting to a rather unusual approach: converting one greenhouse gas into another.

While the world channels its focus on reducing carbon-dioxide emissions to prevent a runaway global warming, the fact that methane is a more potent greenhouse gas cannot be overlooked. Over the span of the first 20 years, methane traps 84 percent more heat per molecule as compared to carbon-dioxide, although its volumes are significantly low in comparison, writes MIT Technology Review.

Researchers suggest that if we set up systems that suck up methane instead of carbon-dioxide, the world can offset short-term warming to a much greater extent than the removal of far more amounts of carbon-dioxide would achieve. However, this approach would mean that the captured methane is converted into carbon-dioxide and released back into the atmosphere.