Climate Change and Sequestration

With climate change emerging as a new hot spot of scientific research, more fingers are being pointed at the various methods that greenhouse gasses are being released into our atmosphere. An article released in Pollution Engineering named a specific species of beetle and soil bacteria. In Boulder, Colorado, a beetle has been causing a massive loss of pine trees in forested regions. The first reason why this affects climate change is because there are less trees to process carbon dioxide. Secondly, as the trees decompose, there will be more exposed soil, which becomes warmer. This will stimulate more microbial activity in the soil, releasing more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. (article: It may not be accessible, I found it using Queens EbscoHost)

After finding this article, I thought about our readings on the terra preta in South America and the idea of Carbon Sequestration. In my high school environmental science class, I watched a video on the possible methods for carbon sequestration and its opportunity to be a viable option to slow the effects of climate change. The idea that stuck out to me as the strangest is where a giant spatula like contraption was placed high up into the atmosphere with receptors to turn carbon dioxide into calcium carbonate, which would be stored in the ocean.

According to the Department of Energy Website, a number of areas for terrestrial carbon sequestration are being explored. Forests, agricultural lands, biomass croplands, deserts and degraded lands as well as boreal lands and peat lands are being investigated as places to store carbon extracted from the atmosphere. The EPA lists an important and popular method of terrestrial sequestration by planting trees. For those who take trips or just calculate their carbon footprint and wish to offset it, carbon credits can be purchased. The idea is that a business will plant your trees which will be decomposed to put carbon back into the soil. The Fish and Wildlife service cited this as a beneficial move for wildlife in forested areas. For areas that were formerly deforested, adding trees will add new habitat. This would be an added benefit- while decreasing atmospheric carbon it provides habitat for animals.

With increasing attention being paid to the changing climate and the options to hinder its progress, these options are being used to help the situation. The option may even kill two birds with one stone- help our soils lacking in organic material and decrease the carbon in the atmosphere.

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