May 21, 2019

New methane capture method could reduce global warming by one-sixth

Renewable energy plant from methane gas. Photo: Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Emerging tech to suck CO2 from the air is getting lots of buzz and cash, but a new paper in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Sustainability proposes a method for atmospheric capture of methane to alleviate warming and buy more time to tackle the bigger CO2 problem.

Why it matters: Methane — a greenhouse gas originating from agriculture, natural gas production, and elsewhere — is emitted in smaller quantities than CO2 but is far more potent at trapping heat on a pound-for-pound basis in the near-term.

What they're saying: "The technique could restore the concentration of methane to levels found before the Industrial Revolution, and in doing so, reduce global warming by one-sixth," the authors write in a separate piece at The Conversation.

How it works: They propose using zeolites — which are porous crystalline structures made from aluminum, silicon and oxygen — that can trap methane.

  • It would arrive via large volumes of air forced into chambers via arrays of electric fans (which would be powered by renewables).

The intrigue: The system they envision would ultimately transform the methane into less-potent CO2, providing some breathing room given methane's potent short-term warming effects.

  • "Methane removal would buy us considerable time to address the [larger] problem of carbon dioxide emissions," Stanford's Rob Jackson, the paper's lead author, tells MIT Technology Review.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: New York reports record 630 deaths in 24 hours

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths in a single day.

The big picture: As expected, COVID-19 death tolls are rising in the U.S., killing more than 7,100 people in total, and over 1,000 in 24 hours alone. The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread, marking a significant change in messaging from the Trump administration.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Spain tracks more cases than Italy

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Spain overtook Italy in its number of coronavirus cases on Saturday, as the global death toll surpassed 60,000, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: About half the planet's population is on lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis. Fatalities are exponentially increasing across Europe, with roughly half of deaths worldwide located in Italy and Spain.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 9 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 1,140,327 — Total deaths: 60,887 — Total recoveries: 233,930Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 278,568 — Total deaths: 7,163 — Total recoveries: 9,920Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state has opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: A pivotal Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Military updates: Senators call for independent investigation into the firing of Navy captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. The U.S. military is struggling to find new recruits as enlistment stations are shut down.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA is postponing the start of its training camps and season.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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