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Economy

This Company Removes CO2 From The Air, And Turns It Into Fuel

Of the various measures emerging to combat global warming, a small Canadian company says its solution to manipulate Carbon Dioxide is both easy to set up, and scalable.

Many scientists are convinced that a mass withdrawal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will ultimately be necessary.
Many scientists are convinced that a mass withdrawal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will ultimately be necessary.
Anne Pélouas

SQUAMISH — The air is pure on the coastal road that winds from North Vancouver to Whistler in British Columbia. Midway between the two cities, the village of Squamish sits at the end of a large bay, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Past the yacht club, a path worms across land belonging to a logging company and the port terminal. The Carbon Engineering headquarters are just before the beach: in under a year, the firm has succeeded in removing a ton of carbon dioxide daily from its surroundings, the equivalent of a round-trip flight from Paris to New York for one passenger.

The world emits more than 90 million tons of carbon dioxide everyday. Carbon Engineering — a small company based in Calgary, Alberta, with funding from Bill Gates, among others — is one of eleven finalists of the Virgin Earth Challenge, which rewards the best greenhouse gas elimination solutions. Chief among the firm's ambitions is to "suck up" a million tons of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere by 2020, recycling the gas and producing 400 million tons of synthetic fuel, mainly to be used for heavy transport (planes, trucks, vans...). Carbon Engineering also aims to earn money through the sale of carbon credits.

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Ideas

Artificial Satellite Pollution, Perils For Biodiversity In Space And On Earth

Exploiting space resources and littering it with satellite and other anthropogenic objects is endangering the ecosystem of space, which also damages the earth and its creatures below.

Image of the small satellite NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite deployed into space by the ISS

Thomas Lewton

Outer space isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be just what we need.

Last month, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a collective of 11 astrophysicists and space scientists proposed we do just that, citing the proliferation of anthropogenic space objects. Thousands of satellites currently orbit the Earth, with commercial internet providers such as SpaceX’s Starlink launching new ones at a dizzying pace. Based on proposals for projects in the future, the authors note, the number could reach more than a hundred thousand within the decade. Artificial satellites, long a vital part of the space ecosystem, have arguably become an invasive species.

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