Carbon cycle re-balancing
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The carbon cycle is the process by which carbon is exchanged between the four reservoirs of carbon: the biosphere, the earth, the air and water. Exchanges take place in several ways, including respiration, transpiration, combustion, and decomposition. The carbon balance, or carbon budget, is the balance of exchange between the four reservoirs.
Debate about 're-balancing the carbon cycle' arises from a concern that use of fossil fuels, which has accelerated since the start of the industrial revolution, has caused carbon to accumulate in the atmosphere. Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are estimated to have risen from 280 ppm to almost 400 ppm since 1800 and this is linked to global warming. It is therefore argued that the carbon cycle should be re-balanced by reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
'Carbon cycle re-balancing' is a useful name for a group of environmental policies listed below. The name gives a specific reason for adopting these policies. Related names, including pleas for sustainable development and participation in the green movement are politics-based rather than science-based.
- Carbon offset - for example by photosynthesis (e.g. in new forests)
- Carbon capture and storage - extraction of CO2 and placing it underground or underwater
- Carbon capture and transformation - extraction of CO2 and reacting it with hydrogen via renewable energy electrolysis to create methane as an energy store/carrier. Low to neutral CO2 cycle
- Sustainable energy - a shift from fossil fuels energy to wind power and solar power
- Nuclear power - as an alternative to fossil fuels
- Sustainable design - to reduce inputs and outputs of energy
- Sustainable transport - to reduce reliance on fossil fuels
Burning domestic refuse to generate power can be promoted as a recycling, and therefore sustainable, policy. But from a carbon cycle re-balancing standpoint it is better to compost as much domestic refuse as possible.
- Mutel, Connie. "Rebalancing the carbon cycle" (PDF). IoWatch (Fall 1998). University of Iowa. The Center for Global and Environmental Research. pp. 1–7. Retrieved 7 November 2018.