Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) to reduce global warming. This process can be accomplished either naturally or through human intervention. It is sometimes referred to as “carbon capture and storage”. This blog will explore what carbon sequestration is and the benefits and drawbacks of the carbon saving technology.
What is carbon sequestration?
Naturally, carbon sequestration occurs when plants capture CO2 and release oxygen as a by-product. This process removes CO2 from the atmosphere and stores it in the form of organic matter. As well as plants, aquatic organisms are capable of sequestering large amounts of CO2 in the ocean, which is partially why our oceans are responsible for a considerable chunk of climate change mitigation.
Humans can also intervene in carbon sequestration, using various technologies such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, air capture, and underground storage. Each solution works in a different way, from capturing CO2 during burning processes, to underground geological storage.
What are the benefits of carbon sequestration?
Carbon sequestration offers a number of benefits for tackling climate change and global warming. It provides an efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and can be used to store carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere. By capturing and storing carbon dioxide, it can help reduce the number of emissions that are released into the atmosphere, directly reducing their impact on the environment.
As CO2 in the air is reduced, it can have positive impacts on public health and well-being. Exposure to elevated levels of CO2 has been seen to impact human health in a variety of ways, from causing headaches and dizziness, to difficulty breathing and increased heart rates. Some studies have even found potential links to diabetes, respiratory diseases, and neurological disorders with long-term exposure to constantly heightened CO2 levels (1).
Of course, one of the most obvious benefits is to our environment. Already this year we have seen the hottest July on record, with life changing and devastating events across the world, from wildfires in Canada to flash floods in India. Reducing greenhouse gases, specifically CO2, will dramatically reduce the rising global temperature that we know as global warming.
Finally, carbon sequestration can also help create jobs and boost economic growth. It requires a variety of technologies, such as bioenergy and reforestation, which can create new employment opportunities and increase investment in renewable energy sources.
Are there drawbacks associated with carbon sequestration?
Despite its benefits, carbon sequestration does come with some drawbacks.
One major issue is the fact that it can be expensive to implement. In order for it to be effective, a large amount of money needs to be invested in technology, infrastructure and research. Fortunately, a lot of corporations are stepping up to the task and investing in carbon saving technologies, including Hive, with our Clean Futures group.
Another criticism of carbon sequestration is that it may provide an incentive for polluting industries to continue their practices since they can then use carbon sequestration technologies to mitigate the damage they cause – a form of ‘greenwashing’. This could lead to less focus on prevention and reducing emissions in the first place. The good news is that a lot of policies are in place to mitigate companies incorrectly utilising carbon credits.