13 Jan '12, 7pm

Don’t believe the hype about the ‘molecule that could solve climate change’

Some chemists came up with a really clever way to observe the intermediate stage of an atmospheric chemical reaction, and then some PR flack got a hold of it and suddenly science has invented a brand-new molecule that will solve all our climate change woes ! As usual, things that seem too good to be true probably are. The supposed miracle molecules, Criegee biradicals, are a short-lived intermediate step in the reaction of ozone (the major component of smog) with alkenes (organic molecules produced by plants and a few industrial sources). Scientists used bursts of light 100 times more powerful than the sun to detect the Criegee biradicals, confirming for the first time that these formerly-theoretical intermediates actually exist. What's interesting about them is that Criegee biradicals react with pollutants in the atmosphere to form aerosols, which is a generic term for ti...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/list/2012-01-13-dont-believe-the-hyp...

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