Carbon capture is essential in reducing the carbon emissions in the atmosphere in order to battle against climate change. Iceland has just opened the biggest carbon capture plant to date. However, simply building carbon capture plants is not enough. As well as building plants, we need to protect our natural carbon capture systems: forests. Green carbon is the scientific name for the carbon stored in natural soils and plants.
What exactly is green carbon?
Green carbon, as already mentioned, refers to any carbon stored in the plants and soil of natural ecosystems. They are a vital part in our global carbon cycle. Its name comes from green chlorophyll pigment found in plant leaves. Because carbon is taken up from the atmosphere by plants through the process of photosynthesis, which is dependent on this specific green pigment.
The carbon cycle
The carbon cycle describes how carbon atoms continually travel from the atmosphere to the Earth and then back into the atmosphere.
As planet Earth and its atmosphere form a closed environment, the amount of carbon does not change. The only thing that changes is the location of the carbon.
Astonishingly, 83% of the global carbon cycle circulates through our oceans. We have recently written about blue carbon: make sure to check it out!
Most of the carbon on Earth is stored in rocks and sediments. The remainder is stored in the ocean, the atmosphere, and living organisms. Dying organisms, volcano eruptions, fires, or the burning of fossil fuels releases that stored carbon back into the air.
If we want to stop global warming, we need to reduce the amount of carbon set free!
The sad facts
With ongoing deforestation, green carbon becomes less and less effective. In fact, since 1990 the area of primary forest decreased by over 80 million hectares. That is larger than the size of Brazil and France combined! COMBINED!
In recent years, the speed of deforestation has decreased. However, the rate of deforestation is still at 10 million hectares per year. This is equivalent to almost the size of Germany.
When looking at Brazil, home to 60% of our precious Amazonas rain forest, it is almost impossible not to feel shocked. The numbers below speak for themselves.
We have also written about ordering online and the environmental impact that has. We found that for every 5 parcels ordered from Amazon, on average, 2 trees need to grow for 10 years to offset these emissions.
The future of green carbon
Trees cover 31% of the world’s surface today. This number was at 57% only 10.000 years ago.
Ultimately, we need the rate of deforestation to slow down in order to stand a chance against climate change. We can all contribute towards this by planting trees. Perhaps link here to charities that plant tree?
If you want to learn more in depth facts about our forests, check this amazing tool by Global Forest Watch out!