The need to solve climate change has never been stronger, as greenhouse emissions rise and climate impacts become more severe. To avert the worst effects of climate change, the world must achieve net-zero emissions by removing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We need to strategize to remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to achieve net-zero. Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere can be removed and stored in a variety of places like plants and trees, aquifers, rock and the ocean, also, underground reservoirs. These are a few natural and technological ways for carbon sequestration.
According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), carbon removal installation is important for meeting global emissions reduction targets by 2050. Along with rapidly curbing the massive amounts of carbon dioxide that we humans are pumping into the atmosphere, recent scientific assessments of climate change have all concluded that reducing emissions alone will not be enough to prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Why Achieve Net-Zero Emissions?
What does net-zero mean? The balance maintained between the number of greenhouse gases produced and the amount removed from the environment is referred to as net-zero emissions.
It might be challenging to cut greenhouse emissions, but we cannot just give up there. The ultimate aim is to restore the global climate to pre-climate change levels by rebalancing the scales. To get there, we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero and then start to work repairing the damage that has already been done by reducing historical emissions.
How Can We Remove Carbon From The Atmosphere?
Planting trees as much as possible. By photosynthesis, trees can be an essential method that is good at storing carbon removed from the atmosphere. If forests are properly managed, expanded and restored, the increase in carbon uptake can take advantage of photosynthesis, which will help convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into carbon deposited in trees and soils.
Soils store carbons naturally. Ranchers and farmers benefit from increased soil health and crop production, which can be achieved by increasing soil carbon. Trees may help farms reduce carbon emissions while also providing shade and food for cattle. Crops with deeper roots can be planted, which makes it drought resistant as well as deposits more carbon into the soil.
Bio-Energy With Carbon Capture and Storage
It is the method, use of biomass for energy in the transportation or industrial sector where before releasing back to the air the emissions are captured and then stored underground or in concrete. If it captures and stores a greater amount of carbon than releasing into the atmosphere, it can help in removing carbon. But it cannot always be convenient, BECCS mostly depends on bioenergy crops which can replace our natural ecosystem leading to loss of ecosystem as well as food production.
Direct Air Capture
The method of chemically removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it underground or in long-lasting goods. The process used in industrial facilities and power plants to capture and store carbon is similar to direct air capture. In this process, it directly removes excess carbon rather than capturing it at a source. The environmental advantages of direct air capture are easy to evaluate and compensate, also the possible scope for installation is huge.
As we know, new technology requires more energy and money. Even though It shows huge potential in growth, these are still a new technology and require public support.
The rate of absorption of carbon dioxide dissolved in rainwater could be increased by crushing down rocks to expand their surface area. This is referred to as increased weathering. According to the most positive interpretation, this strategy has the potential to reduce existing emissions by up to 7%. Even though the price and power demands may be less than directly capturing carbon dioxide from the air, and the land requirements may be minimal, processing of around two tons of rock for every ton of carbon dioxide stored would necessitate massive mining.
This process, where minerals naturally present in the atmosphere reacts with carbon dioxide, converting it into a solid. This process usually takes over thousand of years but scientists are working on ways to accelerate the carbon mineralization process, particularly increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere or water that these minerals are exposed to. The carbon dioxide can also be injected into certain rocks where it converts into bicarbonate and can be utilised to store carbon dioxide.
The approach is to speed up the natural carbon cycle in the ocean. Using phytoplankton in coastal plants or adding minerals to accelerate dissolved carbonate storage, could help absorb carbon dioxide. Adding minerals to store carbon in the ocean can also minimize ocean acidification also, coastal blue carbon might also help restore the ecosystem while removing carbon.
The advantages of adopting these carbon capture methods go past lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Improving carbon sequestration has numerous socioeconomic advantages. Increased climate resiliency and other environmental aims such as improving land preservation techniques and bolstering wildlife conservation are among them.
Of course, neither of these carbon removal methods are a substitute for reducing emissions or a justification for delaying additional steps. They will, however, invariably play a key part in climate solutions.