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Why sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere can’t undo all the effects of climate change

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece in The Verge or enjoy below 

🗞️ Driving the news: Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) has emerged as a key component in various corporate strategies to counteract their pollution effects
• Nonetheless, recent findings published in Science Advances reveal that CDR's impact is not absolute in reversing climate change, especially concerning the Hadley cell, a vital atmospheric circulation pattern

🔭 The context: Companies like Microsoft and the Houston Texans have been investing in tree planting initiatives and new technologies designed to filter CO2 out of the air, believing that these efforts can help reverse some of the environmental damage caused by pollution 
• The Hadley cell, which affects weather patterns across the globe, is becoming disturbed due to the greenhouse gas emissions

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: Greenhouse gas emissions are causing the Hadley cell, vital to many global deserts and rainforests, to grow, exacerbating subtropical droughts
• This expansion could intensify food and water scarcity, resulting in the displacement of communities

⏭️ What's next: The study argues that it is vital to limit pollution now, rather than waiting to clean it up later
• A transition to clean energy is seen as the best way to stop further damage
• More research is needed to understand what might happen under more realistic scenarios

💬 One quote: "It’s easy to think that if we reduce the CO2 concentration, the atmosphere will recover to its original state. Nature is not that simple." (Seo-Yeon Kim, lead author of the study)

📈 One stat: The researchers modeled a scenario where atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations continue to rise by 1% every year for the next 140 years, then decreased at the same rate over the same period
• The results showed a varying impact on the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, indicating that efforts to remove CO2 won't have equal and opposite effects to the original warming

Click for more news covering the latest on carbon removal

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