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Scientists Create a Cheaper Way to Pull Carbon Dioxide From the Atmosphere

In a study released Thursday, a group of scientists announced the creation of what they say is a significantly cheaper method to scrub carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere, The Atlantic reports.

The new method can purportedly remove a ton of carbon dioxide for between $94 and $232. Previous methods were estimated to cost $600 per ton.

According to The Atlantic, these rates would translate to a cost of $1 to $2.50 to remove the emissions for each gallon of gas burned.

"What we've done is build a [direct-air capture] process that is—as much as possible—built on existing processes and technologies that are widespread in the world," David Keith, the Harvard University physics professor who led the study, told The Atlantic. "That's why we think we have a reasonable possibility of scaling up."

Keith suggested that, if his team's method can be scaled up, a year's emissions could be removed at the cost of 3 to 5 percent of global gross domestic product at an assumed cost of $100 a ton.

The lab, however, offered no insight on how to pass tax increases to pay for such large-scale removal. "My view is we should stick to trying to cut emissions first," Keith told The Atlantic. "As a voter, my view is it's cheaper not to emit a ton of [carbon dioxide] than it is to emit it and recapture it."