Boffins at the University of Southern California have created a plastic-based, sand-like solid that absorbs CO2 from the air at room temperature and releases it at 185 degrees F, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Think of it like clumping cat litter for air — it sucks up CO2 and makes it easily removable. It can also be used over and over again, and it may be a significantly cheaper, less energy-intensive way to scrub CO2 out of the air, which pretty much everyone who thinks about the issue agrees is something we're going to want/need to do someday.

Large-scale scrubbing of CO2 from the atmosphere is a ways off, but in the short term, the substance could be used to scrub CO2 out of the air in submarines or spacecraft. The researchers' ultimate goal is incorporating the captured CO2 into methanol, a fuel they believe could be used to replace oil or natural gas, thus reducing how much CO2 goes into the atmosphere, thus drying up our source for methanol. Hmm. Maybe this plan needs some work.