Researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have developed a clay compound that can reduce the destructive effects of climate change by preventing large amounts of methane from making it into the atmosphere. The miracle compound is basically cat litter soaked in a copper solution, as if the internet needed more reasons to love cats. The researchers say it can be attached to vents on dairy farms or coal mines to convert emitted methane into carbon dioxide.

  • The compound, called copper zeolite, has tiny pores which are great at filtering and soaking up specific elements. Zeolite is also quite cheap, costing between $50 and $300 per ton.

Zoom Out: Yes, the carbon dioxide produced is also a greenhouse gas, but methane is much more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere and thus speeding climate change. Decreasing methane omissions would not solve the crisis but would drastically reduce the rate of warming toward catastrophic levels. According to climate experts, cutting methane emissions by 45% by 2030 would reduce expected warming by half a degree by 2100. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is actually a pretty significant figure.

MIT professor Desirée Plata (left) holding the new compound along with doctoral student Rebecca Brenneis
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