The news this weekend seems particularly depressing. The multiple terrorist attacks in Paris seem especially terrifying and unexpected – on the par with 9/11 in terms of its shock value.
In the midst of this global awfulness, I stumbled on what might really be seriously important and good news. Hang on: this could sound utterly boring, but it might have implications for all of us and those we love and care about.
A group of international scientists have just published a report in Nature (highly respected science journal) in which they report having invented an ultra-porous liquid which contains huge (well, huge in atomic terms) bubbles. What is potentially significant about this invention is that these bubbles may be able to contain vast amount of carbon-dioxide — the greenhouse gas we are throwing into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels which is so destructive of our environment.
If we can capture the carbon-dioxides we are currently pumping into the air we might be able to avoid disaster. That is, we may be able to avoid the droughts, starvation, wars, diseases, flooding, mega-storms, and destruction of our oceans that global warming is already beginning to visit on us.
Above all, it may make a significant contribution to earth’s not hitting what scientists call a tipping point. One of the most dangerous tipping points we could trigger is the melting of the arctic ice to such a degree that it releases the vast amounts of methane gas currently trapped there. Methane gas is an even more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and once it escapes, it will be too late for us to turn things around.
When I was a child, I thought balloons were magical. Maybe I was right.