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Scientists Propose Converting Methane Into CO2 to Fight the Climate Crisis

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Carbon dioxide (CO2) may be the most talked about greenhouse gas — but according to some scientists, methane deserves a little more attention. In a new proposal, a group of researchers from Stanford University suggest that global warming can be mitigated by chemically converting methane in the atmosphere to CO2. The proposal was published in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Wait, isn't adding more CO2 to the atmosphere a bad thing? Well, yes — but CO2 is less potent and easier to capture than methane. In 2017, CO2 accounted for 82 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., while methane only represented 10 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But according to a 2014 Princeton University study published on Nature, methane has 25 times the potential to contribute to global warming as CO2. Additionally, as the Earth's temperature increases, so do methane emissions — and eventually, the methane emissions will outpace CO2 emissions, the Princeton researchers believe, according to ScienceDaily. Basically, methane is much stronger than CO2.