Capturing carbon: why is it important?
Climate change has been top of the agenda recently, as the latest IPCC report came out earlier this month. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change produces one of these reports every 6 to 7 years to summarise the 14,000 scientific papers that have been published on historic climate models, global warming and its implications on the planet. And the findings of this report are clear: humans are responsible for the planet warming at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years. This warming is driven by increased greenhouse gas emissions, of which CO2 and methane are the major contributors. This is already leading to hotter heatwaves, wetter monsoons, more frequent droughts, and the oceans warming at their fastest rate since the end of the last full Ice Age. Some of the impacts us humans have had on the planet are now irreversible. We are going to warm the planet by 1.5C more than pre-industrial levels. No matter what we do, sea levels are going to rise by several metres over the next 2000 years, the ice sheets will continue to melt and the oceans will become more and more acidic.
But, the science is also clear: there is hope. If we can reduce our global carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, the planet will quickly stop warming. And if we start absorbing more carbon than we produce it’ll even start cooling down again and those extreme weather events will become less extreme again. Sally Le Page spoke with Ruth Gregg from Natural England about the role carbon sequesteration could play...