carbon removal

BuzzOnEarth is an online publication on environmental sustainability and human wellness, focused on creating positive impact. BoE aims to bridge the knowledge gap and act as a catalyst in accelerating sustainable development.

It has been concluded many years back that the excessive human interference with the environment is no doubt going to have repercussions in future. The exploitation and excessive use of the natural resources have made the environment suffered and disturbed its ecological balance. The human activities have drastically impacted the environment in many aspects and the result is known to everyone. One thing that I believe this pandemic has brought is the sense of belongingness among the individuals. The nature for the first time in so many years got the chance to revive and heal itself. The chirping of birds, the clear sky, blooming flowers all these are effect of less strain on the environment because of human activities. With increasing human activities in the past, the emission of greenhouse gases has been on a high. Though the greenhouse effect was considered to be beneficial for the environment. It was important to maintain a balance in the planet’s temperature. But these gases have instead caused more harm than benefit leading to global warming.

The uncontrollable human activities have surged the levels of these gases in the atmosphere. Thus, disturbing the ecological balance. One of the major gases is the carbon dioxide. The burning of fossil fuels, smoke emitted from industries, excessive pollution have all caused an increase in the level of carbon in the atmosphere. As per the statistics, since the industrial revolution the carbon dioxide emissions have increased from 40% to 400 ppm. The us today report states that the carbon emissions have seen a largest jump in seven year. All this is causing climatic changes and is also endangering species. The sudden floods, desertification of the land, landslides are all the results of excessive carbon emissions in the atmosphere. 

Therefore, the need of the hour is to keep a check on the carbon emissions and find out ways to reduce it significantly. According to the report by the global carbon project, the year 2018 recorded high emission of carbon due to the use of coal, fuel and oil. The five biggest countries emitting the most carbon are India, USA, China, Russia and Japan. Efforts are being taken by the countries to reduce the emissions achieve carbon removal but it is still a long way to go. 

It is supposed that if we don’t want the climate change to hit us extremely hard it is very important that we have zero emissions or we reach net- negative emissions. This will be the break-even point where we will be in the state of restoring and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But the question arises as to what can be done to reach this net- negative emission. What ways and techniques can be deployed to reduce the carbon from the atmosphere and restore the balance in the environment. 

It becomes very important to achieve the net- negative emissions or zero emissions as it can prevent premature deaths in the near future. It is estimated that approximately 3 million people can be prevented by the year 2100. Not only the humans but the wildlife is also in danger 

Because of the climatic changes. The economy may suffer a huge loss. Climate change will affect the agriculture and livestock as the crop will not yield those results because of the rise in temperature. And this, in turn, will eventually disturb the environment. 

Therefore, we need to think of ways and techniques to reduce the carbon emissions from the atmosphere. We have already been putting emphasis on such things like saving electricity and minimise the energy. Conserving water, using paper bags, buying locally grown food or grow some at ur home in a mini garden. Choosing to walk or riding a bicycle instead of taking a bike or a car. Keeping the 3Rs in mind and working towards a sustainable environment. With these small efforts we have been able to reduce the carbon content but to a limited extent. 

Seeing the alarming rate of carbon emissions, it becomes necessary to deploy other techniques and methods which can be helpful to a larger extent and in the long run. One such technique is the carbon removal technique. By carbon removal technique we mean storing carbon in different forms like soil, trees, oceans, lakes, underwear reservoirs and in concrete form of carbon and removing the carbon from the atmosphere. One such process that we have been witnessing is the process of photosynthesis in the plants where they take in the carbon dioxide which helps in their growth and survival. 

Removing carbon from the atmosphere can be done in two ways one either naturally or through technology. Naturally it can be done by restoring and taking care of our forests, farmland, wetlands, agricultural lands which can help in reducing the carbon emissions to a great extent plus the benefits of improved soil fertility and water restoration. Talking of the technological aspect of removing carbon brings in its own pros and cons. Being expensive and costly most of them are not willing to use. The climatic models use bio energy with carbon capture and storage. This process involves using the energy in the industrial, or other sectors capturing the emissions before they are in the atmosphere and storing them underground or in a concrete form. But this process also doesn’t seem to work as it doesn’t affect the climate change significantly plus is quite complicated. So what is needed is bunch of approaches to be carefully selected and applied at different levels. 

According to the UNEP Emissions gas report, by 2050 the world would need to restore around 8 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide which is equivalent to 20 years of global emissions and this can be achieved only with the correct carbon removal techniques. Some countries have already started working on the carbon removal. One such technique is the direct air capture system being used in Canada and United States. Carbon mineralization has also been deployed wherein carbon dioxide with some other gases turns into solid from gas. Ocean based concepts have also been brought into talks and the work is going on. 

To conclude one could say that a portfolio of carbon removal techniques needs to be deployed to reduce the carbon emissions effectively. Each technique comes with its pros and cons and incorporating them together can help get that benefit. Thorough research and development should be taken and invested in so that they prove to be an asset in the near future and help in achieving the aim of net-zero emissions. In this way carbon removal can be done effectively.

See Also: Carbon Sequestration, and how can it be achieved?

See Also: Rock Dust Approach to Carbon Sequestration- A sustainability Analysis

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