How do we stem climate change? Suck a trillion tons of CO2 underground

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[In May], carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere surpassed 415 parts per million, the highest in human history. Environmental experts say the world is increasingly on a path toward a climate crisis.

The most prominent efforts to prevent that crisis involve reducing carbon emissions. But another idea is also starting to gain traction — sucking all that carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it underground.

It sounds like an idea plucked from science fiction, but the reality is that trees and plants already do it, breathing carbon dioxide and then depositing it via roots and decay into the soil.

At the core is the idea that plants breathe, and through the process of photosynthesis turn carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into sugars that become leaves, stems and roots. When a plant dies, decay brings organic material, a component of which is large carbon-based molecules called humic acids, into the soil and binds them to the soil’s molecules. Thus the carbon is “captured” underground. The healthier and more fertile the soil, the more carbon it can store.

Related article:  Viewpoint: GM crops could help slow climate change. Will environmental groups block their development?

Read full, original article: The new plan to remove a trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere: Bury it (Behind Paywall)

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