Nature has equipped Earth with several giant “sponges”, or carbon sinks, that can help humans fight climate variability. These natural sponges, like artificial ones, can absorb carbon and effectively remove it from the atmosphere.
But what does this science-fiction-like act really involve? And how much does it actually cost to make a difference and slow it down? Climate change??
Sabine Fas has been looking for these answers for the past two years. Berlin economist Fas, who leads the Global Commons and Climate Change Research Group at the Mercator Institute, is part of the United Nations’ former Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Global Warming. After the panel’s 2018 report and the goal of the new Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius), Fas was left to find one. carbon The removal strategy was the most promising and feasible.
Relation: What is a carbon sink?
Afforestation and reforestation (forest reforestation or reforestation, respectively) are well-known natural carbon sinks.A huge number of trees can isolate the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere photosynthesisA chemical reaction that uses the energy of the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugar and oxygen.According to a 2019 study in the journal Science,Planting 1 trillion trees It can store about 225 billion tonnes (205 billion metric tonnes) of carbon, or about two-thirds of the carbon that humans have released into the atmosphere since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
According to Jane Zelikova, a terrestrial ecologist and chief scientist at Carbon 180, a non-profit organization that advocates carbon removal strategies in US practices such as crop rotation, farmland management is relatively low-risk and is another already tested. Natural carbon removal approach. Cultivation and crop rotation increase photosynthetic carbon intake, which is stored in root tissue that eventually decomposes in the soil. The National Academy of Sciences has found that carbon storage in soil is sufficient to offset 10% of US annual net emissions, or about 632 million tonnes ().574 million metric tons of CO2 — At low cost.
However, nature-based carbon removal, such as reforestation and reforestation, can conflict with other policy goals such as food production, Fas said. As you scale up, these strategies require a lot of land, often land that is already in use.
They say this is why a more technology-based approach to carbon removal is important. For example, in direct air capture and carbon storage, a chemical process removes carbon dioxide from the air and binds it to a filter. When the filter is heated, CO2 is captured and injected underground. According to, there are currently 15 direct air capture plants around the world. International Energy Agency..There is also Bioenergy from carbon capture.. In this method, plants and trees are grown to create carbon sinks, and then organic matter is burned to produce heat and fuel called bioenergy. During combustion, carbon emissions are captured and stored underground. Another carbon capture trick involves mineralization. In this process, the rock is crushed and chemically reacts with CO2 to increase the surface available for crystallization. The mineralized CO2 is then stored underground.
However, none of these technologies have been implemented on a large scale.They are very Expensive, Estimated value $ 400 per ton CO2 is removed and requires a lot of research and support before each can be deployed. But the United States is a good example of how combinations of carbon removal solutions can work together, Zelikova said. Land management is available in the Midwestern part of agriculture. Basalt in the Pacific Northwest is ideal for mineralization. She said the southwestern oil fields are already prepared with the right skills and skilled workers for underground carbon storage.
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Ultimately, a single intervention cannot be successful on its own, so every country needs to put together a portfolio of its own CO2 elimination strategies. “If you scale up any of them exclusively, it would be catastrophic,” Fas said. “It will use a lot of land or be exorbitantly expensive.” According to her research, reforestation and reforestation are the most productive in the tropics, while albedo (reflection of light into space). Differences in insolation at high latitudes north mean that these countries are likely to be more fortunate to invest in more technical interventions, such as carbon capture and biomass extraction.
There is an urgent need to deploy these solutions. Fas said the world’s carbon balance, which is the amount of CO2 that humans can emit before the Earth’s temperature rises 2.7 F (1.5 C) above pre-industrial levels, is about 300 gigatons of CO2.
“In recent years, we have emitted 40 gigatons,” she said. In other words, the budget has only a few years left.Recent studies of the journal Science report It suggests that it may be too late to wait years from now to reach the goals set by the Paris Agreement. Based on climate models, the authors predict that even if greenhouse gas emissions are completely stopped, “the temperature of the earth will be 3 degrees Celsius.” [5.4 F] Warm sea level 3 meters [10 feet] Researchers said 33 gigatons of existing greenhouse gases must be advanced and removed this year and each year to reverse the effects of climate change.
However, in reality, these approaches are not ready and there is no consensus on their payment methods. There is consensus among scientists about the next steps. Further emissions should be stopped immediately. But “because emissions are built into our daily lives and infrastructure,” Fas said.[carbon] Removal is at the forefront. “
Originally published in Live Science.
Can we get enough carbon from the atmosphere to stop climate variability?
Source link Can we get enough carbon from the atmosphere to stop climate variability?