Combating carbon emissions, with a twist

Climate change conference The Manchester Report has revealed a surprising suggestion not only to curb, but also to reverse carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere: Add lime to seawater.

Oceans play a crucial role in slowing down the process of global warming, currently by absorbing about half of the CO2 released into the air by human activity every year. Doing so, however, dramatically increases marine acidity and threatens ecosystems.

Advocates of the Cquestrate project insist that the added lime produced from heating limestone will not only boost the amount of CO2 absorbed, but will also reduce the water's acidity. If the technique were employed on a large enough scale, proponents argue that it would be possible to return global carbon dioxide levels to their pre-Industrial Revolution amounts. The project's founder Tim Kruger said:

It is essential that we reduce our emissions, but that may not be enough. We need a plan B to actually reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.


The Amazing Merkel and the Islamic Avengers?

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a transnational, multi-denominational, interfaith co-op of superheroes? International diplomacy may well have found a new medium: the comic book -- forging inspired coalitions, and trumpeting unlikely champions. 

In anticipation of upcoming elections, a 64-page comic novel featuring heroine Angela Merkel has hit Germany's streets. As some critics are noting that it took three and a half years for the German chancellor to be satirized in this way is something of a compliment, especially when pitted against  similar works based on Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown. Indeed laughs wasn't the only aim with the Merkel bio-comic: "We wanted to both amuse and educate readers about the main points in her life," its creator told reporters.

And while Merkel may be giving Wonder Woman a run for her money, Batina the Hidden, the burka-wearing heroine of The 99, a Muslim comic book series, is suiting up to join forces

The United States' DC Comics and Kuwait's Teshkeel Comics will collaborate on an "unprecedented" miniseries collaboration expected to hit shops within the year.

Characters of The 99 anthology battle evil the "Islamic way," representing the 99 attributes of Allah. The 99 comic books "sell about 1m copies a year, enjoy a high profile in the Middle East. The adventures are to be made into an animated film, while the first of several 99-inspired theme parks has opened in Kuwait."

There's some question about how Wonder Woman's immodest getup will cross the cultural lines abroad while others are accusing the American creators of "Muslim pandering," but creators are optimistic that in a post-Bush world, the American superheroes will be welcome among Middle East readership. 

And so it would seem Obama will be adding international comic book alliances to his list of recent triumphs.