That's a great question. The good news is,
electrolysis does split apart many types of
molecules, and it could be used for
CO2. The bad news is, it hardly works
at all for CO2, partly because
CO2 is a gas.
The good news is,
there are other techniques that can split apart
CO2, with the help of catalysts and/or
intense light. The bad news is, every technique
requires more energy than you got by burning the
carbon in the first place.
Some folks have
proposed a slightly different idea which also uses
chemistry. Instead of trying to break the
CO2 apart, we could try to react it
with some kind of mineral (magnesium oxide or
calcium oxide), so you could bury it underground.
Then it would not contribute to the greenhouse
effect in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, that
means mining for HUGE amounts of these minerals,
which would cause major environmental damage as
well. For example, the world burns about one
cubic *mile* of coal every year. (A full
mountain's worth!) For mineral storage to work,
we would have to also mine an even larger amount
of minerals, and then find a safe place to bury
For now, the best solutions are to try
to burn less carbon to begin with. We can be
efficient users of energy starting right now--and
save money, too!