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Where we are

There are three steps involved in getting our atmosphere to an acceptable level of CO2. The first step is to reduce new fossil fuel emissions. This is something that has been getting a lot of attention recently and is likely to get the bulk of the attention in the future. It is what much of this website focuses on and is a difficult task, but one we are beginning to undertake.

The first step is to reduce new fossil fuel emissions
The second step is to be able to pull CO2 out of the air. This step we don't have much in the way of systems for yet. There are a lot of good ideas, as well as a couple that aren't quite as sustainable (see the What It Is and Why It's Important sections to read more about trees as carbon storage), but there is yet to be a major system put in place for this. The How We Get There section has information on some of the more promising systems that are being proposed.

The third step is having a place to put carbon once it is taken out of the air. This is something that there actually has been a lot of work done with as a result of the efforts of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) systems for coal plants. CCS is something that attempts to reduce the negative effects of coal burning by taking some of the CO2 out of the emissions and burying it. That technology is not the focus of this section, because it doesn't deal with the problem of taking CO2 out of the air and it has it's own set of problems, but the research it has put into methods of storing carbon are potentially very useful. If you want to read more about CCS, check out the Emerging Energy Technologies section.

The graph below (coming soon!) shows our current CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and where we are projected to be in the future. These values are likely to stay where they are until we find a way to remove some carbon dioxide from the air on a large scale.

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