Thursday, November 01, 2007

Big Challenge - Getting Carbon out of the Ecosystem

From here:
The “big problem” that our use of fossil fuels has created is that large amounts of carbon deposited in the form of oil and coal a long way underground has been burnt as fuel, ending up in the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide.

One of the preferred strategies for dealing with this at the moment is by reforestation - planting new forests either to replace forests that have been removed or simply for growing trees to remove CO2 and convert it to wood. Whether this will work is not clear - however, the carbon isn’t really removed from the ecosystem; it is just locked out of the atmosphere - at least until the tree dies and degrades.

The challenge: is there an alternative? For example, I wondered whether putting large amounts of plastic into deep landfill isn’t a bad idea - we are told, for example, that it takes hundreds of years to degrade, so won’t go anywhere fast. The UK government also recently failed to take advantage of a proposal to pump CO2 into the space from where an oil company had just finished extracting gas. Does anybody else have any other ideas?
To discuss this, go to the Open Solutions blog.