Environmental scientist Wallace Broecker proposes that the only way to fix global warming is by literally scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere and burying it. A professor at Columbia University, Broecker's written a new book on the subject appropriately titled Fixing Climate. He's also working with a company called Global Research Technologies to develop machines that would remove CO2 from the air on a massive scale. In the new issue of Smithsonian, Broecker talks about why these devices are our best hope. From the interview:
We need something that can be manufactured, like air conditioners or cars, by the millions. Each day, a unit would take about a ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere, liquefy it and send it out through pipes to wherever it's going to be stored. The developers are now envisioning a device about 6 to 10 feet in diameter, 50 feet high. It would be like a little silo, in that shape so the wind could blow through it from any direction.
CO2 emissions are going up faster than the highest scenarios. Developing nations are going gangbusters using fossil fuels, so they are eclipsing any savings that the rich nations are making. At some point we are going to have to get tough about it. There is going to be a demand to bring the CO2 level back down again because of the environmental damage it's doing. The only way to do that would be with this sort of device.