One day engineers may come up with global warming solutions (check out "Professor Bloom's Carbo-vac Atmosphere SuperSucker"). But until they do, we may have to cope the old fashioned way: through compromise, politics and common sense.
All About Carbon
Whenever carbon's bonds are broken, immediately it seeks out a new partner. And one of the most stable partners? Oxygen. And we're creating more of this carbon dioxide than our natural environments can absorb.
When you eat a carrot, set fire to a piece of paper or put a match to a lump of coal, carbon atoms are being yanked, juggled and ripped out of each other's embrace. We've gotten very good at breaking carbon bonds: that's how we light our cities, drive our cars, power our tools.
"There is more than one way of being a Bond. You have your suave, supple, catlike bond, your stiff-shanked bond, your uncommitted, barely there bond," says science writer Natalie Angier. So let's take a look at carbon, among the most promiscuous of elements.
Carbon's special skill is its extraordinary ability to bond with other atoms. It's just about the friendliest element in the periodic table, always grabbing and holding onto other atoms — which is why it is so suited for life.