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Giant fans that suck CO2 out of the air are operational in Italy

But they are only taking the CO2 equivalent of 32 cars off the road every year.

  • The fans may be carbon neutral, but the goal should be 'carbon negative.'
  • Nevertheless: every way of tackling climate change helps.
  • More carbon-eliminating/recycling products could be hitting the market soon.

One of the ClimeWorks fans in question.

ClimeWorks

With the U.N. releasing a report on climate change that demands sustained attention, it's worth noting that ClimeWorks — a company based in Switzerland — opened its third 'carbon capture' site on October 2nd in Troia, Italy.

The ClimeWorks carbon capture center in Italy only takes the equivalent of 32 cars off the road per year. That's more than zero, but it's nowhere near where the numbers should be. At best, as David Roberts pointed out over at Vox this past July, some of the capture sites in the world are — at best — carbon neutral, and the goal should be to produce something that is 'carbon negative,' i.e., something that takes more carbon out of the air, not just something that puts nothing into the air.

Of the three carbon capture sites ClimeWorks has in the world, the one in Iceland is the only capture site that's carbon negative.

That doesn't mean that there aren't promising steps being taken with the carbon neutral sites: as Akshat Rathi notes in Quartz, where the story was first reported, the carbon dioxide first captured at ClimeWorks's first carbon capture site was "fed to a greenhouse, which boosted the growth of the plants inside it." The gas captured and converted at the plant in Italy will be used to provide fuel for trucks. These two examples illustrate one of many different ways in which Climeworks could theoretically pursue the big picture with creativity.

Map of currently active Carbon Capture sites across the world.

There are other considerations worth bringing into the framing of this as well, many of which can be found in a lengthy paper from the University of Sheffield.
  1. New carbon capture products on the verge of hitting the market (focusing on chemical looping, membrane-based technology, ionic liquids, and others.) Just because a site is carbon neutral now doesn't mean that there aren't carbon negative products on the way.
  2. The cost of 'de-carbonising' key industrial sectors will ultimately get 'lost in the noise of the market.' In other words: there isn't an economic disincentive for companies to de-carbonize. The claim that it might cost money to shift away from carbon doesn't ultimately hold true.
  3. Climate change requires a multi-pronged response: if the equivalent of 32 cars are taken off the road every year, then that's 32 fewer cars for the world to worry about.

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Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

A truck pulls out of a large Walmart regional distribution center on June 6, 2019 in Washington, Utah.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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The key to better quality education? Make students feel valued.

Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.

Future of Learning
  • Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
  • One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
  • "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
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Personal Growth

Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

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