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What is Carbon Sequestration? 

There’s no question that climate change is a huge problem. Headlines in the news more frequently feature climate disasters, including forest fires, heat waves, unusual flooding, and more. The situation is dire and continues to worsen, making sustainability and environmental awareness more essential than ever before.  Carbon sequestration is one solution that can make a […]

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There’s no question that climate change is a huge problem. Headlines in the news more frequently feature climate disasters, including forest fires, heat waves, unusual flooding, and more. The situation is dire and continues to worsen, making sustainability and environmental awareness more essential than ever before. 

Carbon sequestration is one solution that can make a huge difference in our current climate crisis. In this article, we’ll explain what carbon sequestration is, share examples, and more. 

What is Carbon? 

Carbon is a chemical that’s a basic building block of life on our planet. Carbon exists in gas, solid, and dissolved forms. For instance, diamonds are a form of solid carbon, while CO2 is an example of carbon in gaseous form. 

Why is Carbon Causing the Planet to Heat Up? 

Carbon dioxide is a gas that traps heat produced by human and natural activities. For example, man-made sources of carbon dioxide include the burning of coal, natural gas, and oil. These are used to produce other forms of energy and for transportation. 

Carbon dioxide can also be used and released by changes in land use, through changes in the ocean or seabed, and through the decomposition of organic materials and forest fires. 

As carbon builds up in the atmosphere, it combines with other gases to trap heat and cause climate change. This is why carbon dioxide and some other gases are referred to as “greenhouse” gases. The gases act as a greenhouse to trap heat, causing our planet to become warmer over time. 

For years, scientists have been studying ways to capture and store carbon dioxide to keep the planet from warming so quickly. They’ve made important accomplishments in this area, including carbon sequestration. 

What is Carbon Sequestration? 

Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing, securing, and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The goal is to stabilise carbon in solid or dissolved forms to keep it from causing the environment to warm. 

The process may be a great way to reduce our carbon footprint and stop the climate crisis. 

How Does Carbon Sequestration Work? 

The way carbon sequestration works depends on the method used. In the following sections, we’ll take a look at different carbon sequestration methods and how they work to capture and store carbon dioxide. 

Biological Carbon Sequestration 

There are several different biological carbon sequestration methods, including: 

Oceans

Oceans have the ability to absorb about 25% of the carbon dioxide created by humans each year. However, the oceans can both release and store carbon dioxide. They can release and store carbon dioxide. In fact, the ocean acts like the lungs of the Earth by “inhaling & exhaling” carbon dioxide. 

Colder parts of the ocean are able to absorb more carbon dioxide than warmer parts. This means the polar regions are efficient carbon sinks. 

Soil

Carbon is also sequestered in the soil through plant photosynthesis, where the carbon is stored as soil organic carbon (SOC). Soil has the ability to store carbon dioxide for thousands of years. 

Scientists are currently working on ways to accelerate carbon sequestration in the soil, looking to find methods that trap carbon for longer times. 

Forests

Forests work to capture about 25% of global carbon emissions. The process starts when leaves and branches fall from plants and plants die. The carbon stored in these plants may be released into the atmosphere or captured by the soil. 

However, forests may also release carbon through wildfire and human activities such as deforestation. 

Grasslands

Grasslands work in much the same way as forests to capture carbon dioxide. However, grasslands tend to sequester their carbon underground rather than in the soil. 

And if grasslands burn, their carbon stays underground. They have more ability to store more significant amounts of carbon. 

Geological Carbon Sequestration

Geological carbon sequestration is another process that stores carbon dioxide. In this process, the carbon is stored underground in geologic formations (rocks). 

For this method, carbon dioxide is captured from industrial sources and injected into porous rocks, where the carbon is stored for long periods. 

Technological Carbon Sequestration 

As noted earlier, scientists continue to look for new ways to remove and store carbon through the use of innovative methods and technologies. However, researchers are also searching for ways to use carbon dioxide as a resource rather than only removing it from the atmosphere. 

Graphene Production 

One of the novel methods to remove carbon and use it as a resource is through graphene production. Graphene is used to create a wide range of products, including screens for devices, including smartphones and more. 

Direct Air Capture (DAC)

Direct Air Capture is a method that captures carbon directly from the atmosphere by using advanced technology plants. However, one downside of this method is that it requires a large amount of energy and it can be quite expensive. 

Engineered Molecules

Scientists are also working on methods that engineer molecules and change shape by creating new compounds. These compounds are capable of finding and capturing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 

What are the Benefits of Carbon Sequestration? 

When large amounts of carbon are removed from the atmosphere, climate scientists believe they may be able to reduce some of the effects of the growing heat trapped in the atmosphere. Scientists have demonstrated that reducing carbon dioxide has the potential to reduce the average global temperature of the Earth. 

In addition, the long-term effects of carbon sequestration methods could mean fewer forest fires, a reduction in extreme storms, the rebound of habitats threatened by human activity, and more.

Concluding Thoughts

There’s no question that carbon sequestration has a direct impact on the Earth’s climate. Scientists are now searching for effective methods to sequester carbon and even use it as a resource. 

Nature has already given us clues about the carbon sequestration process. Now, we must commit to finding ways to curb carbon emissions and research methods to store and use carbon emissions effectively now and in the future. Our climate depends on the collective actions we take now with carbon sequestration and other methods to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 

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Thursday 21 February 2024, 1:00-2:00 PM

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