Climate change has got everyone sweating. NASA announced that 2016 is set to be locked in as the hottest year on record. Warmer global temperatures mean that sea levels are rising at unprecedented levels – a recent study estimates that water levels could increase at ten times the rate previously anticipated by climate experts. While the scientific community agrees that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human industries are to blame for these rapidly shifting temperatures, we seem reluctant to change our methods of production or consumption habits.
A few years back, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated that if the global carbon dioxide concentrations in the earth’s atmosphere rose above 400 parts per million (ppm), the effects on our planet’s climate would be irreversible. The drastic change in climate that this additional carbon would cause in the form of temperature rise would have apocalyptic effects on the environment and on human population centers. In spite of this warning, atmosphere’s CO2 levels have stayed well above 400 ppm since 2015 and CO2 emissions continue to rise. To top it all off, President-elect Donald Trump has stated his energy policy will move away from renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, and move back towards coal. It seems that future of the planet is a black one, without a glimmer of hope.
Except . . .
A factory in Tamil Nadu, India, may prove to be the shining light that cuts it’s way through the coal-smudged sky and show us a method of slowing climate change – or at the very least, show us a place to start.
The Tuticorin zero-emission factory is a coal-fueled power plant that has invented a revolutionary system to trap the CO2 emissions from the coal boiler and turn them into soda ash – which can be used to make baking soda and a variety of other compounds with many uses, including detergents and sweeteners. The factory states that the process has reduced its carbon emissions to virtually zero and on top of that, the production of baking soda prevents an estimated 60,000 tons of CO2 emissions from entering the world’s atmosphere each year. Not only is this technique an incredible scientific discovery, it is a revolutionary economic tactic as well.
The Tuticorin factory will be the first factory to make CO2 emission reductions profitable. Ramachadran Gopalan, the factory’s owner, told the BBC, “I am a businessman. I never thought about saving the planet. I needed a reliable stream of CO2, and this was the best way of getting it.” Never the less, scientists estimate that this new technique could be used to prevent 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions due to coal.
This incredible innovation coincides perfectly with Trump’s move to back coal-based power plants. It seems almost too good to be true – but we are not going look a gift horse in the mouth. Instead, we ask you to share this article with family and friends to get the word out about this revolutionary new technology. With this new tool in our arsenal, we may be able to make “clean burning coal” a reality. If you want to do more in your everyday life to reduce CO2 emissions, you can begin by cutting meat and dairy products out of your diet. If you eliminate meat from your plate, you can cut your annual carbon footprint in half. To learn more about how changing to a plant-based diet can reduce your personal impact, check out One Green Planet’s Eat For The Planet movement.
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