Negative carbon dioxide emission

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A negative carbon dioxide emission or negative emission or a process that is carbon negative gives a permanent removal of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from Earth's atmosphere.[1] [2] It is considered the direct opposite of carbon dioxide emission, hence its name. It is the result of carbon dioxide removal technologies, such as bio-energy with carbon capture and storage, biochar, direct air capture or enhanced weathering.[3]

Negative emissions is different from reducing emissions, as the former produces an outlet of carbon dioxide from Earth's atmosphere, whereas the latter decreases the inlet of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Both have the same momentary net effect, but for achieving carbon dioxide concentration levels below present levels, such as 350 ppm, negative emissions are critical. Also for meeting higher concentration levels, negative emissions are increasingly considered to be crucial as they provide the only possibility to fill the gap between needed reductions to meet mitigation targets and global emission trends.

In the OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 released at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference, the authors commented on the need for negative emissions, stating "Achieving lower concentration targets (450 ppm) depends significantly on the use of BECCS".[4]

Carbon dioxide sinks and negative carbon dioxide emissions[edit]

A carbon dioxide sink such as a concentrated group of plants or any other primary producer that binds carbon dioxide into biomass, such as within forests and kelp beds, is not carbon negative, as sinks are not permanent. A carbon dioxide sink of this type moves carbon, in the form of carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere or hydrosphere to the biosphere. This process could be undone, for example by wildfires or logging.

Carbon dioxide sinks that store carbon dioxide in the Earth's crust by injecting it into the subsurface, or in the form of insoluble carbonate salts (mineral sequestration), are considered carbon negative. This is because they are removing carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it indefinitely and presumably for a considerable duration (thousands to millions of years).

Carbon Negative Art[edit]

A growing number of concerned artist are working with living plants, not only as a creative expressive medium, but to capture carbon and create a negative footprint in their art practice. One of these is Australian artist Lloyd Godman. Godman works with Bromeliad plants that grow asexually, continually producing offsets and have an exponential affect on capturing carbon. One project involves air plants,Tillandsia where he creates suspended plant sculptures that rotate in space on the wind, capture carbon, and heavy metals with no auxiliary watering system or soil. The work has a high ESD. The cycle of growth is infinitely perpetuated while cleaning the environment, offering cultural stimuli and commenting on the climate crisis - there are few if any art mediums like this.

In other work he creates Bromeliad Hybrids. As hybridizer or creator, he is able to name these new hybrid plants. History shows hybridizers often name their plants with romantic names like desert bloom, rose sunset etc. However to raise consciousness of the issues of climate and carbon, the plants are named after carbon emitting devices ( cars ) with familiar automobile makes and models Latinized. Examples are:

Neoregelia oldsmobileii cutlassae supremea sedanus, Neoregelia fordiana corceli, Billbergia ferrariea zagatosii panoramicea

The idea behind the work is to disseminate plants with automobile names into general circulation, these continue to grow exponentially capture carbon, heavy metals and release oxygen while stimulating awareness and discussion on the problem of rising CO2 levels.

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External links[edit]


  1. ^ Fuss, Sabine; Canadell, Josep G.; Peters, Glen P.; Tavoni, Massimo; Andrew, Robbie M.; Ciais, Philippe; Jackson, Robert B.; Jones, Chris D.; Kraxner, Florian; Nakicenovic, Nebosja; Le Quéré, Corinne; Raupach, Michael R.; Sharifi, Ayyoob; Smith, Pete; Yamagata, Yoshiki (21 September 2014). "Betting on negative emissions". Nature Climate Change 4 (10): 850–853. doi:10.1038/nclimate2392. 
  2. ^ Obersteiner, M., Azar, C., Kauppi, P., Möllersten, K., Moreira, J., Nilsson, S., Read, P., Riahi, K., Schlamadinger, B., Yamagata, Y., Yan, J., and van Ypersele, J. P.: (2001) “Managing climate risk”, Science, 294(5543), 786–787.
  3. ^ "Geoengineering the climate: science, governance and uncertainty". The Royal Society. 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  4. ^ "OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050, Climate Change Chapter, pre-release version" (PDF). OECD. 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-16.