The moon has its own carbon emissions, which changes our understanding of how it may have formed. Using data collected by Japan's Kaguya lunar orbiter over a year and a half, Shoichiro Yokota at Osaka University in Japan and his colleagues have discovered that the moon emits carbon ions across almost its entire surface. These plains are made of younger material, and as such emit more carbon because they have been exposed to space for a shorter period of time, says Yokota. Older regions have been exposed to more space weathering, and so have lost much of their carbon already. The researchers compared the moon's carbon emissions with estimates of the carbon supplied by two external sources – the solar wind, and collisions with micrometeoroids – and found they didn't match up.
Licht is the mind behind STEP, a process where atmospheric carbon dioxide is sucked out of the sky and turned into carbon fibers. That would turn a gas that is slowly killing us into a cheap, and abundant, material that's both ultra-strong and ultra-light. Imagine the waste products from power stations being turned into airplane fuselages or car bodies. Since STEP's announcement, Licht and his team has been working on improving the process to increase its usefulness. The latest change has been to make the system, now called C2CNT, create carbon nanotubes, which could form the basis of anything from composite materials through to batteries.
Carbon dioxide is one of the biggest contributors to global warming. The gas traps intense solar heat into our atmosphere and drives the pressing concern of climate change, something that can have a devastating effect not only on human life but also on flora and fauna on our planet. It is produced from human respiration, but a major chunk of it also comes from the burning of fossil fuels. Just a little over a month ago, the concentration of CO2 touched a record high, with a whopping 410 particles per million. But, what if we say there is a way to reverse the process by capturing the gas straight out of the sky and converting it into low carbon fuel?
There is much scientific and political interest in using the transfer of carbon from the atmosphere to the biosphere, or carbon sequestration, to help mitigate the greenhouse effect (1). Because plants fix carbon dioxide (CO2) by photosynthesis and store carbon in their body (close to half of plant dry matter is carbon), faster carbon uptake by plants through faster growth is widely held to increase carbon sequestration. Yet, this assumption is supported by neither theory nor evidence. Any gain in carbon storage from faster tree growth will be transitory.
Even as policy makers and delegates from countries around the world are meeting for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany, some bad news has surfaced. The latest projections for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for 2017 show an upward trend, reversing the near-flat growth seen the last three years. The forecast by the Global Carbon Project (GCP), published Monday in a series of reports in three different journals, says 2017 will see a record 41 billion tons of CO2 emissions globally, an increase of 2 percent compared to 2016. The years from 2014 to 2016, by contrast, had seen little-to-no growth in CO2 emissions, making the 2017 projections particularly worrisome. Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, who was lead researcher for one of the reports, said in a statement Monday: "Global carbon dioxide emissions appear to be going up strongly once again after a three-year stable period.