Carb(on) Loading; Let’s Talk Carbon Emissions
Even the most optimistic could understandably be depressed when reading climate headlines. But, there may be hope…
Carbon Removal: There are many companies working on carbon removal either directly taking it from industrial processes on site or capturing ambient emissions. The carbon can be beneficially reused as building materials, high value added industrial commodities, soil remediation, and other applications.
For years, Climeworks has been capturing CO2 from a geothermal plant and pumping into formations of porous basalt. The CO2 binds with minerals in the basalt and becomes carbonate rock (limestone) in a matter of months. This process has proved to be permanent and scaleable and scientists estimate that all the world’s excess CO2 could be converted to limestone by 2050.
Re-forestation, Re-wilding and peat lands: This is beginning to take off in Europe, where not only do these solutions sequester carbon more efficiently and cheaply than the technical approaches right now, they have the benefit of supporting biodiversity.
Re-forestation: Planting native species to accurately restore forests to what they were before as opposed to afforestation which is planting many of the same type of tree, usually for biofuel applications which unfortunately results in more carbon emissions.
Peat-lands: Cover about 3% of the globe and could sequester 370 million metric tons of CO2 per year. Look for peat land projects and restoration funds in the UK, Germany and Finland.
Re-Wilding: Returning the land to native state and replacing native species. Forests in Europe returned at a rate of 2.2m hectares per year between 2010 and 2015 alone.
Ocean management for carbon: Research is showing that the ocean may be the fastest way to remove atmospheric CO2. Coastal ecosystems sequester up to 20 times more carbon per acre than land forests. Growing algae for sequestration using AI driven bio-reactors could be up to 400 times more efficient than a tree at removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Various sources indicate that as much as 200 million tons of carbon are being sequestered by microalgae per year already — and it is being studied as a solution to the food crisis.
Restoration of the Arctic: In other editions of this newsletter we have talked about needing to restore glaciers and arctic ice formations. Scientists are testing reflective sand and early tests are showing that this can be safe and effective.
It is ideas like this (and many others) that give hope. We have all the technology and ideas we need right now to restore our atmosphere to pre-industrial levels and the task now is to invest in solutions.
Heather Langsner, VP, Impact
A YouTube personality set an ambitious goal: raise $20 million to plant 20 million trees by Jan. 1, 2020. Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, and Susan Wojcicki have pushed the fundraiser past $14 million.
The first voluntary standard for measuring the emissions reductions of peatland projects was validated in 2014. The credits are sold via the platform.
Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life by George Monbiot. Polemic and likely controversial to some readers in places but well researched.
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