On the most basic level, there are two ways of heading off catastrophic levels of global warming.
The world's economies can reduce the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by rapidly adopting methods for producing clean energy, whether by harnessing the power of the wind or sun, or by developing technologies that can capture and store the emissions produced by coal, natural gas, and oil.
The second method involves pulling existing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. This strategy ranges from technologies that seem more akin to science fiction, such as man-made resins that absorb carbon, to efforts at expanding the planet's natural stores of carbon dioxide - namely, forests - by planting more trees.
The work of Tobias Erb, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, falls somewhere between the fantastical and the natural.
RELATED: Plants Have Been Slowing the Rate of CO2 Over the Past Decade
Erb was part of a research team that has successfully devised a new, more efficient pathway for carbon absorption in plants, effectively supercharging their carbon-eating potential. The team's findings were published in the journal Science.
"If you think about plants, they're efficient CO2-fixing filters, but they are not fast," he says in a video explaining their discovery. "I think there is a chance to improve existing biology with synthetic biology."