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Problem Solving Must-Reads: Turning Carbon Emissions Into Soda Ash

Plus: Peacebuilding through forest management in Myanmar, and pushing back against plant patents

Problem Solving Must-Reads: Turning Carbon Emissions Into Soda Ash

Plus: Peacebuilding through forest management in Myanmar, and pushing back against plant patents

One of the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is to “hold the increase in global temperatures to well below 2 degree Celsius.” Although controversial, the 2 degree Celsius threshold is generally considered by many experts to be a tipping point after which the impact of climate change becomes irreversible. One of the long term ways in which this target can be met is by increasing the the proportion of renewable resources that contribute to the global energy supply. However, in the short term there is also a dire need for technology that can limit the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere produced by fossil fuels, even as the world continues to move away from it.

A team of chemical engineers from India has come up with a new technology that might prove crucial to reaching the Paris Agreement emission targets. They’ve founded a company called Carbon Clean Solutions and built a plant in India which captures carbon emissions and turns it into soda ash, a chemical cousin of baking soda that people buy at the grocery store. While most other technology that captures carbon emissions are expensive, the technology used by Carbon Clean Solutions is remarkably cost effective.

From its relatively humble beginnings in Southern India, Carbon Clean Solutions is currently a 20 person company that has its headquarters in London. It has also raised more than several million of dollars in venture capital. The technology developed by Carbon Clean Solutions is currently undergoing tests, with the ultimate aim of using the technology to capture emissions from large fossil fuel power plants across the world.

Read the full story here (Via Quartz)

Here’s what else we are reading:

Building a lasting peace by protecting forests in Myanmar

Myanmar is a country in transition from a military dictatorship marked by a brutal ethnic armed conflict to a democracy. The conflict and the continuing tensions in Myanmar are deeply rooted in who has control over its resources. While there is much to do on all fronts in Myanmar, in a country where forests are the the basis of livelihoods for a third of the population, an important way to ensure lasting peace is by simply addressing mismanagement and corruption in its forests. By focusing on proper management of the forestry sector, Myanmar has a chance to escape what scholars call the  “conflict trap,” in which the fallout from previous conflicts creates conditions that increases the chance of war breaking out again. (via Thomas Reuters Foundation News)

"Open Source" seeds are resisting corporate control of food production

Photo: Ensia

Patents are being used more and more to restrict breeding of crops. Corporations like Monsanto account for most of these patents, and thus control many seeds needed for farming. This has raised concerns about food production and food security across the world. That’s why the Open Source Seeds Initiative has been created to ensure that some plant varieties and genes can remain free from intellectual property restrictions. The concept of open source seeds is now spreading across the world. In India, Germany and the Netherlands, organizations have emerged that are starting open source seeds programs, which help farmers preserve traditional breeding practices and avoid costly patent issues. (via Ensia)

Photo header via Quartz

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