greenhouse gas Current Affairs - 2020

Polar bears on the verge of extinction by 2100

Over the past few decades, polar bears have been ubiquitous symbol of climate change. This majestic creature is on its verge of extinction by the end of the century if global warming continues unabated.

What does the report say?

A recent study published in July 2020 issue of Nature Climate Change predicted that most polar bears in the Arctic region will become extinct by the year 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions remain on their current track. Further, the report also states that polar bears are likely to experience reproductive failure by 2040, reducing the number of offspring needed for population maintenance.

Dr Péter Molnár, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough who is also one of the authors of the recently published study told CNN in an interview that, “Ultimately, the bears need food and in order to have food, they need ice. But in order for them to have ice, we need to control climate change,”

Reason Behind:

The lovely creature found mainly near the poles wandering around icebergs covered with soft furs which makes them even more loveable is declining at a rate of more than 12% each decade since the 1970s. As sea ice declines they are forced to moved towards ashore where there is less productive water. On average, an adult polar bear can fast for a month but considering the current situation, they are forced to spent long months without eating. Their body requires 12000 of calories daily to maintain the body heat which is very essential to sustain in the icy region. However, due to the fact that they are not getting proper diets, their body system is getting weaker day by day and their rate of reproduction has seen a steep decline.

MIT researchers develop new technology to remove CO2 from air

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States (US) have developed a new technology to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from a stream of air, virtually at any concentration level. This is a new advance that may pave the way for new strategies to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) levels. The study by researchers was published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

About the New Technology

While in most of the prevalent methods, removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from a stream of gas required higher concentrations like those found in flue emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants, but the new method could take out gas even when it was present in very low concentrations.

Method: Researchers described the device as a large, specialized battery with a stack of electrodes that absorbs CO2 from air passing over its surface as it was being charged up, and then released gas as it was being discharged. A chemical reaction then takes place at surface of each of a stack of electrodes as battery charges.

The electrodes are coated with a compound called polyanthraquinone compounded with carbon nanotubes.  The study noted that electrodes have a natural affinity for CO2 and readily reacted with its molecules in airstream/feed gas.  This new technology device operates at room temperature and normal air pressure.

The biggest advantage of this technology over most other carbon absorbing/carbon capture technologies is- ‘binary nature of the adsorbent’s affinity to carbon dioxide’. Moreover, the new system is energy efficient compared to existing methods- consistently using about one gigajoule (GJ) of energy per ton of CO2 captured.