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How the Earth Works

The Earth as a Greenhouse

(4) How to Take CO2 Out of the Air

Human activities that produce CO2 are the main cause of global warming. How can we solve this problem?

Perhaps we could reduce CO2 released into the air by collecting the CO2 and sealing it up somewhere? This would be very difficult. Some researchers are studying the possibility of collecting and sealing CO2 deep below the sea. This might seem like a good idea, but there are some things we have to consider. For example, would greater amounts of CO2 in the sea create new problems? Or, would storing CO2 deep in the sea require more energy than the energy it created in the first place, emitting more CO2 than we estimate?

There's good news to be told about this problem. Earth came equipped with a magical vacuum cleaner that absorbs lots of CO2. Can you guess what that vacuum cleaner is? That's right: Plants! Plants absorb CO2 and store it in their bodies. Large trees store lots of CO2. Forests, in this way, are Earth's special cleaners that absorb and store CO2. Naturally, we must take care to protect forests and plant more of them.

ctually, there's a simpler, more direct solution than even planting trees: Change how we live so we release less CO2. Almost all of the CO2 we release in our daily lives comes from using electricity, gas, and gasoline. So, one thing we can do is to use these energy resources as little as possible. That doesn't mean we have to live like cavemen! What lifestyle changes can you think of?

Bicycles, which need no gas and emit no exhaust gases, are a right tool for global warming measures!

Photo by Andrew Scott. Some rights reserved.

At the stations and trains in the Japanese capital of Tokyo and its suburb, lights are turned off as an effort to save electricity.

Photo by xeni. Some rights reserved.