With the Paris convention on climate change, the world may have turned a corner in how it treats CO2 emissions and climate change. There is now increased pressure on the greatest CO2 producers to find ways to curb their emissions.
One way to do this is simply to burn less fossil fuels, and derive energy from other, cleaner sources. But this is a long process, and the transition won't happen overnight.
So what can we do with that excess CO2 until that point? How about use it to grow food hydroponically.
One of the major problem for many greenhouse growers today is the cost of heating fuel. While they are relatively low at the moment, due to the very low cost of oil, they will rise again and subject these farmers to the market fluctuations of the oil market. If a greenhouse was strategically placed within an industrial operation, it could get all of the heating it needs directly from the industrial process itself. Win/win.
More exciting, is the opportunity to take some of the CO2 that such factories and power plants are today just releasing into the atmosphere (and contributing to climate change), and funnel it back into the natural carbon cycle. Not only will the plants growing in such environments love the boost in CO2 and grow faster and larger in response, but this way the CO2 is put to productive uses.
Some may argue that because these plants will eventually break down after we eat them and release all of that CO2 into the atmosphere anyways, then what is the point? Such a viewpoint is incorrect, though, as a greenhouse operation like this must be viewed as a permanent establishment and not by crop cycle. Even though trees in a forest die and release that carbon back into the atmosphere, the forest as a whole acts as a carbon sequestering machine. If the entire forest was clearcut, then it would fail in sequestering carbon.
If industry was paired with greenhouses, the effect would be similar. The global food supply would increase and more carbon would stay "in the food growing system" than be directly burned off and go into the atmosphere. So long as the system functions, carbon remains sequestered, food grows, and we take one important step towards real sustainability.