Caging Carbon Dioxide

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Science  29 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6004, pp. 595-596
DOI: 10.1126/science.1198066

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A transition to a portfolio of renewable energy, nuclear power, and biofuels may yet mitigate the perceived calamities of global climate change. In the meantime, the global abundance of accessible, inexpensive coal, combined with incessant pressure for economic growth among developed and developing nations, will ensure that present-day investments in fossil energy are not casually abandoned. Many more gigatons of carbon dioxide are thus slated for discharge into the atmosphere in the coming decades. Given this reality, technology advancements that address global climate change through carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) are equally important as innovations that spur the adoption of wind power, photovoltaics, and other generation assets with small carbon footprints. On page 650 of this issue, Vaidhyanathan et al. (1) report theoretical and experimental studies that impart a better understanding of a chemical interaction that appears central to improving CCS technology—the interaction of carbon dioxide with amine functional groups.