>> Sucking greenhouse gasses out of the air or dimming sunlight to tackle climate change. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction or just too good to be true. But this project by Climeworks in Switzerland to extract carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere is one of few to get beyond the research stage.
Reuters Alister Doyle in Oslo says the idea of geoengineering to turn down the planet's thermostat is niche, but gaining traction.>> Plantworks' ambitions are that they could, within a decade or so, they could be extracting 1% of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. Now that would be a phenomenal amount.
That would be hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide. At the moment, their experimental plant extracts only 900 tons of green house gases once it's fully up and running by the end of the year. That's only the equivalent of about the green house gases by 45 Americans every year.
>> Currently Climeworks costs are prohibitive, $600 a ton. But supporters of such schemes say cutting emissions will not be enough to halt global warming. Others argue, the last thing that the planet needs is scientists waiving a magic bullets around.>> So there's a big risks here. That not only is going to be costing a lot in the research, may not lead anywhere.
But that should it, there's a risk people are going to be resting on their laurels and saying we don't need to bother with cuts in carbon emissions. We can trust a technological break through sometime in the future. As one scientist put it, it's like bingeing on food one day and just hoping that tomorrow you'll be able to have liposuction.
The debate over scientists playing God to save the planet is likely to heat up. Next year, Havard university will release a chemical into the upper atmosphere to experiment with dimming sunlight. There are fears that could interfere with weather that's important to life on earth. Like monsoons.