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Wed Oct 31, 2018, 06:29 AM

Toward a sustainable materials system

I've been thinking all week about CO2 capture from air as a route for future generations to address our failure to do anything significant about the climate beyond praising even more consumer junk, like electric cars and solar cells.

I've been going over the aging, but still interesting - if controversial - PNAS House paper, Economic and energetic analysis of capturing CO2 from ambient air, (PNAS, 108, 51 2042820433, 2011) poking around references and citations and I came across this short, non-technical and thoughtful commentary in a recent issue of Science; it's open sourced:

Global annual resource use reached nearly 90 billion metric tons in 2017 and may more than double by 2050. This growth is coupled with a shift of materials extraction from Europe and North America to Asia. In 2017, 60% of all materials were extracted in Asia, and extraction is expected to rise substantially in Africa over the next decade. Local extraction and processing helps to improve standards of living in the developing world, but also leads to important environmental concerns. Globally, materials production and consumption is coming up against environmental constraints in almost every domain, including species biodiversity, land-use change, climate impacts, and biogeochemical flows. Mitigating the impact of materials use is urgent and complex, necessitates proactive assessment of unintended consequences, and requires multidisciplinary systems approaches.

Materials consumption trends provide context to inform strategies for impact mitigation. Beginning in the mid-1950s, there has been a shift from biomass or renewable materials to nonrenewable substances, such as metals, fossil fuels, and minerals. Effective strategies for mitigating their impacts are different for high-volume materials with structural applications than for specialty materials with functional uses...


Toward a sustainable materials system Elsa A. Olivetti, Jonathan M. Cullen (Science 29 Jun 2018: Vol. 360, Issue 6396, pp. 1396-1398)

Well worth a read...

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