Talk:Carbon sink

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See sentence in the "Growing Trees" section: "Mid-to-high latitude forests have a much larger albedo during snow seasons than flat ground, and this contributes to warming". It seems wrong to me or, if correct, then it's badly worded. The Albedo page has an example for Fairbanks, Alaska gives an example of an area with many pine trees that has lower albedo and is warmer since it doesn't reflect as much radiation back to space. My understanding of the issue is that an increase of forested area versus open space means that the trees would be darker, absorbing rather than reflecting the radiation and so being warmer. This makes sense to the argument that the forestation could warm the area more than the effect of the carbon sink. So the sentence could be corrected by replacing "larger albedo" with "lower albedo"; 100 is complete reflection and 0 is complete absorption, so "lower" should be the correct wording.

Done. Be bold, see an error, fix it :-)
--Vsmith 14:30, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think this sentance is making a poor point, given the context. Firstly, to provide mid-to-high latitude forests as an example of why trees are not necessarily a positive for the environment is stupid - whether forested or not, these area have relatively high albedo, so as to reflect large proportions of short-wave solar radiation back into space. Secondly, my understanding of photosynthesis is such that that solar energy is used in a reaction to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen - some warming may occur within forested areas, but i would imagine that most solar energy (ie all exempting that in the green part of the electromagnetic spectrum) is being used in this reaction and as such does not remain as heat energy. David Gates

Trees - discuss and cleanup.[edit]

The following was copied from a recent reverted edit. There is info here that can be worked into the article. But, it needs cleanup and work to make it part of an article. As it is , it is advocacy. -Vsmith 00:55, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Several side effects of planting trees are unaccounted in the previous paragraphs. In particular are (1) the benefits won by planting trees on hill sides (reducing erosion) and (2) the additional trees that result when mature trees release seeds. While all trees eventually release most of the stored carbon back into the atmosphere" (as stated five paragraphs above), it is a "rolling release." As fast as trees decay and release carbon, others can be absorbing the carbon. Tree-planting non-profit organizations like [] and [] can provide data to confirm that tree-planting programs deliver a range of benefits, each which contribute to reduction in carbon emissions. Since tree planting is an effort used to combat global warming, there is an ongoing effort to recognize tree planting as a "global cooling" campaign. :A calculation in a 1990 book Global Warming: The Greenpeace Report (pages 398-401) estimated that a massive tree planting program involving about one-fourth of the land that had been deforested could offset carbon emissions for about 30 to 40 years, buying time to develop new technologies that emit less carbon per kilowatt-hour produced. The projected cost of the effort was given as under US$40 billion.
The amount of carbon dioxide released from burning a gallon (3.7 liters) of gasoline is approximately 20 pounds. A gallon of gasoline weighs about 6.7 pounds (about 3 kg) and 100 gallons turns into a ton of carbon dioxide. A typical automobile in the USA uses about 500 gallons per year, producing about 10,000 pounds or 5 tons of carbon dioxide.
A fast-growing tree like Leucaena (source: Trees for the Future, []) can sequester as much as 50 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. Over 40 years, the tree can convert a ton of carbon dioxide into leaves, trunk, soil and roots. The obvious conclusion: a car owner who sponsors at least 5 fast-growing trees (planted in a tropical location) will offset the carbon emitted by the car. For more information about a carbon estimate, contact Sierra Club (one of the first organizations to publish a form to allow consumers to estimate their carbon emissions, published in 1992) and the American Forestry Association, which also estimates the amount of carbon stored by its tree-planting programs. -- 23:20, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC) contact me at

More tree stuff[edit]

Deleted from the article:

Duncan Maxwell Andersen wrote:

A funny thing happened as James Hansen was fielding questions from reporters in Washington, D.C., in 1988, terrifying senators with global warming predictions: The forests of eastern North America—no doubt including the Blue Ridge Mountains 60 miles to the west of the capital—were quietly absorbing CO2. A study by Princeton University, Columbia University, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducted between 1988 and 1992 showed that the eastern forests were so efficient a "sink" or absorber of carbon dioxide that they more than made up for all the emissions from America’s factories, power plants, campfires—even its SUVs. Published in Science in 1998, it got comparatively little notice, but if the years covered by the study are typical, the implications for the world’s climate could be enormous. It would mean that America, rather than being a force oppressing the rest of the world with its huge economy and its greenhouse emissions, is actually picking up other countries’ greenhouse "trash." If CO2 is a problem, it’s the rest of the world that’s causing it. [1]

I read the article this is quoted from - seems to be a journalist writing for a religeous paper. Doubtful reliability although he raises some interesting points. Go to some of the original sources cited in this and use the info to write a summary - don't just dump some unverified quote here, cut & paste is too easy, writing requires thinking. -Vsmith 23:58, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Wait a Minute[edit]

Why wouldn't the US receive emissions credit for its forests?

(William M. Connolley 22:17, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)) At a guess, because its not in the Kyoto protocol, though I don't know for sure.

Carbon burial is climate option[edit]

[2] May be helpful. Not really sure.

North American carbon sinks[edit]

This section used to be in the article proper. I've moved it here, as it doesn't seem like it's worth inclusion as it currently stands. It consists of a quote from a 1996 press release that goes on to say that there has been no confirmation of the findings of the north american sink, and then political speculation. Maybe somebody could turn this into information about North American carbon sinks, but as it stands the top results from a google on 'north american carbon sinks' is far more useful than this section.

Faye Yates, Director of External Relations at Columbia University wrote in a press release:

"The mean atmospheric CO2 concentration on the East Coast has been observed to be lower than that over the Pacific coast. This means that more CO2 is taken up by land ecosystems over the United States than is released by industrial activities." [3]

The United States government does not want to participate in emissions trading for either of three reasons:

  1. Ideological objections to the very idea
  2. Emissions quotas likely to be assigned to the US would damage the US economy; or,
  3. Its "eastern forests are so efficient [an] absorber of carbon dioxide that they more than make up for all the emissions from America", according to "Crisis Magazine" in February 2004, reporting on a paper published in Science in 1998.

Interesting Slide Show[edit]

The following 2005 slide show on Carbon Capture and Storage may be of interest. [4] 21:26, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

Wiki-trolling? re: U.S. Energy policy Act of 2005[edit]

User:Rd232 wrote:

Is this in any way true? The linked Energy Policy Act page says nothing about it, for one thing, and for another, the Administration's policy is that atmospheric CO2 is not to be regarded as undesirable until there's "better science". Beanluc 20:43, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

See my reply on user talk:beanluc. In essence, I just took it over from the previous edit - if it's wrong, fix it. Rd232 11:35, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
Thanks - you're right, I needed to look more carefully at the diff. An anonymous poster wrote the line that you modified. I'm removing it because the statement isn't supported by the citation and seems implausible. Let's see if the anonymous editor speaks up. Beanluc 19:22, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
S'ok, it was a big diff (I made a lot of changes in one go). But it's a reminder why it's dangerous to use words like "troll" - even when it's true it's often not helpful. And in this case, if the original contribution was from, they're no a "troll" either (Special:Contributions&target= Rd232 20:25, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Just for everyone's information, There are around 20 different programs going on with the Department of Energy and the National Labs that deal with carbon capture and storage. So the Bush adminstration is commited to dealing with the CO2 problems, which has been made clear in many republican resolutions attempted in the House and Senate. More information about the DOE's plans for carbon capture and storage can been found on the Fossil Energy Page.

More recent work in Germany (2005) suggests...[edit]

Could do with a source for this. William M. Connolley 08:22, 26 October 2005 (UTC).

An anon added:

An additional method of long term ocean based sequestration is to gather crop residue such as corn stalk's or excess hay into large weighted bales of biomass and deposit it in the alluvial fan area's of the deep ocean basin. Dropping these residues in alluvial fans would cause the residues to be quickly buried in silt on the sea floor, sequestering the biomass for very long time spans. Alluvial fans exist in all of the worlds oceans and seas where river delta's fall off the edge of the continental shelf such as the Mississippi alluvial fan in the gulf of Mexico and the Nile alluvial fan in the Mediterranean Sea.

This is a new one on me, and its completely unreferenced. Should it stay? William M. Connolley 19:35, 31 October 2005 (UTC).

I tried unsuccesfully to find any supporting information. Seems to be an original concept and, as such, inappropriate for the article. Paleorthid 20:54, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Carbon-dioxide sequestering into old oil and gas-wells has the advantage that you might be able to get it back out later, if you need it. As human population and life expands throughout the solar system, carbon is a precious commodity, because there is more hydrogen and oxygen around, than carbon (most rocks, such as moon, mars, asteroids - are made of silicon oxides, while outer planets, such as jupiter, are made of gases, like hydrogen.) We might just use fusion/nuclear/solar power to convert CO2 back to carbon, and take it somewhere to, say, fertilize and asteroid under our glass dome there, or simply to a spinning-artificial-gravity space station. Also, hydrocarbon-biomass still has energy content, which could be burned to CO2 first, to get the energy out, then CO2 sequestered, without releasing it to the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. Underground CO2's fate is either to stick around, or to form CaCO3. If you want to store atmospheric carbon in a hydrocarbon form, might as well have it be a structural material for humans, such as natural rubber is, or even polyethylene, don't bury it underground, make biodiesel then plastics out of it. Sillybilly 21:27, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

The above statement is very true. The Bush Administration has been looking seriously at carbon capture since 2000. In the propused budget for 2007 carbon sequestration alone is planning to be given 78 million, the highest in all of the Energy department. In the Department of Energy's Strategic Plan in 2003 it also states that an objective for the administration is to put more time and effort into carbon capture in sequestration due its benifets and immediate use to fight global warming. Also in the Senate Resolution S.957, the Energy Initiative, it talks about carbon capture.

Sequestration versus sinks[edit]

I think the article should be split. To my knowledge 'carbon sequestration' is by no means the same as enhancing 'carbon dioxide sinks'. Does 'carbon sequestration' not generally refer to carbon capture and storage by means excluding the enhancement of sinks? Jens Nielsen 09:30, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Carbon sequestration entails the flow of carbon from one sink (typically the atmosphere) into another sink with a long residence time. Carbon sequestration is an example of carbon flow. Sinks represent stocks (or reservoirs) of carbon. These are different concepts, although both are part of the carbon cycle.

I've written an article on Carbon Capture and Storage based on the recent IPCC report. I will remove some content of present article to avoid duplicate information. Jens Nielsen 09:23, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree that we should work on organizing the topics in sinks and Carbon Capture and Storage. I would suggest that sinks should be limited to natural processes (oceans, terrestrial) and could include discussion of processes that enhance or destroy sinks. Aspects such as mineral sequestration would be better on the CSS page. The sink page should tie directly to the bigger picture in Carbon cycle and provide more detail than is present in that overview. --B Carey 04:24, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Carbon Capture and Storage / Carbon Capture and Sequestration technologies and the facilities associated with them are undertakings unrelated to CO2 sinks. Mardaloop25 15:50, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Economically Benefitial Carbon Sequestration & Sinks?[edit]

I particularly like the idea of carbon sequestration being used in a manner that's economically benefitial, like in increasing the productivity of oil and gas wells, but I'm also wondering in what instances the materials we use can be unitentional, and possibly economically benefitial carbon sinks.

CO2 emissions from human activity aren't intentional but a side-effect of burning some of the most economical and efficient energy sources available - fossil fuels. As the price of petroleum goes up or governments subsidize non-petroleum sources for geopolitical and/or enviromental reasons, will it be more economical to make plastics from renewable biomass sources? If so does that mean that (what I'm guessing are) millions of tons of plastics from such sources will be unitentional carbon sinks? Car bodies will in time be much more commonly made of superior carbon fibers and not metal. If the carbon in that material comes from biomass, then how much of a carbon sink will this be and how much might it offset the emissions (if any) from the vehicle it's used in? It's expected that carbon allotropes such as diamond and nanotubes will be common building materials once we have widespread, advanced nanotechnology. Won't this someday be a widespread, massive, and economical carbon sink and unintentional sequestration effort? Cities made primarily of nanotech derived diamond could someday sequester enormous amounts of carbon. To an extent we probably already do a little of this with our homes and furniture made of wood, objects (like tires) made of organically derived rubber, paper products in landfills, charcoal, leather, fabrics, paper products that are never burnt, and even the biomass of houseplants, human beings, our and pets. (who usually end of being buried when they die.) As carbon sinks those sources are collectively small compared to our current CO2 emissions, but in time will unintentional carbon sequestration surpass our emissions? I'm guessing that in the long term the key to carbon sequestering as a way of combating climate change is to make human civilization itself an unintential carbon sink rather than spend trillions on sequestration efforts with only environmental, not economic benefit.

To what extent could carbon sequestration be subsidized or required by the government in home and building construction? Might a small percentage of powderized charcoal added to concrete and cement sequester some carbon, or would the emissions required for such an effort offset any sequestration which might be too small to be effective in the first place? In how many places does building construction act as a carbon sink surpassing the biomass that it replaces? Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in the US and I suspect that the carbon sequestered by it's new construction surpasses the biomass on the desert it used to cover. From what I understand rainforests are a big carbon sink, but to a small extent does the farmland that gets built over deforested areas slightly compensate the loss of that sink from deforestation?

Actually, concrete is a nett emitter of carbon dioxide. There's a new form of concrete created by some Australian scientist which removes CO2 from the air, but its not in wide use yet. So for now, building more buildings is only making things worse. Sorry. Rolinator 08:39, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
And farmland, with its high turnover and low standing stock, in no way compensates for the carbon stored in the forest destroyed to create it. Let alone the ancillary soil carbon and biodiversity issues involved. I'm interested in this CO2 absorbing concrete though. How does that work? Cheers, --Plumbago 11:51, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, when I mentioned construction as a carbon sink, I had assumed that concrete was neutral as far as emissions go (I imagine it's a slight emitter due to gradual the breakdown of carbonaceous material in it, right?) and was referring to all the carbon contained within objects in the building. All that wood, paper, fabric, and other sources must add up, right? That's not to say it could possibly equal the emissions that went into the construction of the building, transport of the occupants' vehicles, or CO2 emitting energy use, but that doesn't change the possible carbon sequestration that might exist.
Nope, afraid cement's a fairly large source of emissions. The article on Portland cement discusses this, but it boils down to the energy required to make cement, and the CO2 produced during the process. As regards building contents, the detail of how they are produced, and what they are produced from, is important. I agree that they could represent some sort of "sink", but given modern production methods and materials, chances are they're a net source. And don't forget that as well as being a standing carbon reservoir, vegetation adds carbon to the soil. --Plumbago 18:11, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Las Vegas is the example I used since the ground being covered with construction is probably desert with little vegation and hence a small carbon sink in the first place, but also because Vegas's electricity comes from Hoover Dam, which like other hydroelectric sources is carbon neutral though a net greenhouse gas emitter. If Vegas didn't use that hydroelectric power, it would just go elsewhere so in a sense it doesn't count and Vegas might as well be using a zero carbon emission electrical source. If and when transportation moves to electric and biofuel sources, could Vegas in time be not just a low emitter of CO2, but an example of carbon sink city surpassing the original sink potentential of the land it's on?
The point you're making is a fair one, but beware history. Las Vegas was constructed at great energetic and material expense, and it's still a long way shy of being carbon neutral (look at the cars). So while the current (well, future) balance sheet may look net-zero, don't forget what it took to get there. And Las Vegas' sustainability with regards to water resources isn't clear to me. I thought it was still extracting fossil water. --Plumbago 18:11, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Clearly, farmland doesn't act as much of a carbon sink, but it must account for a little, right? Does farmland in South America that used to be rainforest account for even 1% of the carbon sink potential of the original forest? How much higher is it in the North American midwest? And what if in time more and more desert is irrigated for farmland? How much does farmland from the Nile act as a carbon sink surpassing the sink potential of the desert before it was used? Someday North Africa could have far more extensive desalination and irrigation powered by solar and nuclear. A green Sahara could hold considerable carbon.
Numbers matter. Yes, farmland does constitute a standing carbon reservoir (albeit a lower one), but don't forget the carbon that was (essentially) transferred to the atmosphere to create it. It's got to go somewhere (ultimately probably the ocean, but that may take a while). Also, greening the deserts is assuming large amounts of freely available energy. While solar may be able to do this, it takes up land which might otherwise be used for your farmland. And nuclear's still got a long way to go (there's a letter in this week's Science magazine about the dubious (technical) prospects for fusion). --Plumbago 18:11, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
What about fish farming? Currently overfishing has robbed the oceans of considerable biomass and hence carbon but as more and more fish are farmed both in oceans & lakes and on land and the feedstock is land-based fish farms could be a carbon sink. Something similar could be said for current use of livestock and in time widespread use of hydroponic food sources, both plant and in-vitro meat.
Compared to the amount of carbon dissolved in seawater, biomass is but a tiny fraction. The main concern regarding fisheries is their unsustainable harvesting of natural stocks and the destruction caused by efforts to overharvest benthic stocks that previously wouldn't have been touched with a bargepole (until, that is, easy to reach stocks were wiped out). I certainly don't think one should consider fishfarming a reasonable carbon sink (though it might be a tiny one). As regards fish being a source of food (should we cover the land with solar plants), ocean productivity is (to a large extent) limited by nutrient availability, something that's not easy to rectify. Not least given that the warming ocean is liable to stratify more and limit the upwelling of nutrient supplies. --Plumbago 18:11, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
And I completely forgot to mention Steel, which contains a couple percent carbon. Where does that carbon come from? If it's from biomass, then that could make steel construction an unintentional, economical carbon sequestration effort and a signifigant global carbon sink.
Again, don't forget numbers. You need to have a clean source of the (large quantities of) energy to make steel before one can claim it as a sink. And even then I doubt the numbers are large enough for this to ever be a significant sink (but I applaud your lateral thinking).
Overall, I guess what I'm saying is that qualitatively, I think your points are good, but it's less obvious that they make quantitative sense. And certainly not while our energy sources are not 100% clean. And they do tend to assume that we can (and should) transform the Earth's surface to suit our current lifestyles, rather than the reverse. Many scientists are increasingly pointing out that we disregard Nature's services at our peril (economically as well as ecologically), so we should perhaps be careful about turning our entire world into a farm. Cheers, --Plumbago 18:11, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
In the case of steel I think that most steel mills burn either natural gas or coal and I imagine that the quantity of carbon emitted is far more than what is or can be sequestered. (I also find it amusing how American politicians can talk about keeping steel mills open while promising more clean coal technology.) If a kilogram of steel contains 20 grams of carbon, how much carbon was emitted to produce that one kilogram? If in time steel mills emit far less CO2 through a combination of efficiency, alternative fuels and energy, clean coal technology, zero emission energy, and carbon neutral energy (like methane/natural gas from anaerobic digesters), then the carbon emitted could drop to the quantity sequestered or even below.
To claim that we should produce steel to act as a carbon sink is laughable, but I'm just making the observation that it's going to be made anyway and if there's any carbon sink benefit, however slight, I'll take it. To not call steel a carbon sink because human activity (such as the production of the steel itself) still results in CO2 emissions is like claiming forests aren't sinks because cars still burn petroleum. It doesn't matter what the source of the sink is, or for what purpose, just that it exists.
To an extent the purpose of my inquiry and subsequent posts is a justification of my own broader desire to see human civilization grow essentially forever while keeping the planet comfortable for us. This is an idea that might horrify environmentalists, but I personally think the notion that nature other than humanity is all that precious or important is highly overrated and whatever aesthetic benefits it may have can someday be recreated through virtual reality. Let's see earth become an Ecumenopolis like Coruscant from Star Wars and after that work toward planetary deconstruction to eventually convert the entire solar system into a dyson sphere! A bit far out there, but I feel no matter what rhetoric is used to counter that idea, it is inevitable that someday humanity or our AI & nanotech descendents will do just that to the earth, solar system, galaxy and eventually the entire universe.
Separating fact from fiction is not always easy.

I would like to address the notion of sequestering carbon by construction of edifices. Many building materials are no longer made of wood For example, aluminum studs, fibergalss insulation and siding, and plastic roofing materials, all not only fail to sequester carbon, but actually emit carbon in their manufacture. Also, how much more carbon would be captured if the trees used for construcion were allowed to continue to grow instead. In Washington State, for every tree that a person cuts down, another tree must be planted. Perhaps this should be made a nationwide policy. In fact, a luxury tax could be placed on the burning of fossil fuels requiring that enough trees be planted to more than compensate for the carbon emitted.----Diane Nowlin, Physicist, 11 Feb 2007 —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 10:59, 11 February 2007 (UTC).

I am very confused by this.[edit]

"Over the whole life of a single tree or other forest plant the carbon capturing (sequestering) and releasing is neutral." and later- "Although a forest is a net CO2 sink over time"

???? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Not sure where it says that in the article; there are two ways that a forest can serve as a net carbon sink - either by increasing biomass over time (as happens in younger forests) or because the rate of decomposition in the forest soil is slower than the (net) rate of increase in living biomass. This is usually the case. The carbon compounds which are easily decomposed (sugars, amino acids, cellulose) are broken down quickly; the more recalcitrant forms accumulate in the soil. Over time, because the new carbon is broken down more quickly than the old carbon, the forest accumulates carbon. Guettarda 00:05, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Just to say that I agree with Guettarda; there is a distinction to be drawn between young and mature forests. The article confuses this a bit by talking about young and old trees rather than forests. Individually, trees grow and add carbon throughout their lives, so even in mature forests individual trees are still growing (though this varies with the age and species of tree). However, because trees are also constantly being lost (to disease, accidents, etc.) in mature forests, the forest itself may be carbon neutral. In young forests, all of the trees are in the growth phase, so the forest at that time is a sink. Eventually, a young forest will mature such that the growth of trees is balanced by their loss to other processes. I hope this helps a bit. Cheers, --Plumbago 09:30, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
There seems to be a lot of confusion in this article about what a carbon sink is, stemming from a failure to distinguish stock and flow variables. A sink is anything that holds a store of something. A carbon sink is something that holds a store of carbon. A forest contains carbon, so it is a carbon sink, period. In fact, any carbon-based life form is a carbon sink, as are various kinds of rocks, the atmosphere and anything else containing carbon. When a forest is growing (adding biomass), it is converting co2 into new biomass at a faster rate than dead biomass decays and releases co2. The net change in biomass is a flow variable that tells you the rate of change in the stock of carbon in the sink. From the perspective of climate change mitigation policy, maximizing the stock variable - how much carbon finally winds up being in the sink - is the principle aim. Maximizing the flow variable doesn't affect the maximum value of the stock variable (which occurs at equilibrium), it just decreases the amount of time needed to achieve the maximum value. When a forest reaches maturity, it is in a state of equilibrium with respect to carbon, because at that point, the forest converts co2 into biomass at the same rate that decay converts dead biomass back into co2. At this stage, the forest represents the largest carbon sink it is capable of being.
To put it another way, the basin in your bathroom is a 'water sink'. How fast the stock of water in your water sink grows (i.e., the rate of change in the amount of water it contains at any given moment) is a function of how quickly water comes out of the faucet. Assuming you don't turn off the faucet, your water sink reaches its 'mature' state when the level of water reaches the overflow drain, at which point water drains out of your water sink at the same rate at which the faucet adds water to it. At this stage, your water sink hasn't ceased to be a sink; it has merely ceased growing. Marmocet (talk) 13:36, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Proposed merger of Carbon capture and storage into Carbon dioxide sink[edit]

I oppose merging Carbon capture and storage (CSS) with Carbon dioxide sink. The CSS page represents an important international initiative and conceptual approach to mitigation of global warming. Carbon dioxide sinks is a component of the carbon dioxide cycle and is distinct from any human activity designed to alter the CO2 budget. Also see my earlier comment in #10. (Pardon double posting this here and on CSS; I'm not clear on where the discussion should be). --B Carey 06:45, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

I also oppose merging Carbon capture and storage (CSS) with Carbon dioxide sink. The name Carbon Capture and Storage refers explicitly to artificial separation of CO2 from various industrial sources and artificial burial. The term Carbon dioxide sink is much broader, and encompasses any carbon reservoir that can hold carbon for a while (how long might differ widely between different sinks). It should also be noted that the term Carbon Sequestration has been used for both natural and artifical binding of carbon from the atmosphere and should hence link to both terms. The term carbon sequestration has been used for natural mechanisms long before CCS gained popularity. I have also heared talk on conferences that the CCS community excplicity prefers the term CCS because it sounds better than "sequestration", which conjurs up images of nasty chemical processes. M. Hesse 12:01, 6 June 2006

Oppose As per reasoning of B Carey. Need to keep natural and anthro activity separate. --Plumbago 11:22, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Oppose completely agree with above stated reasons. Jens Nielsen 08:46, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Oppose I agree entirely with the reasons given above. Carbon Capture and Storage / Carbon Capture and Sequestration technologies and construction of the facilities associated with them are human undertakings unrelated to CO2 sinks in nature. Mardaloop25 15:50, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Proposed merger of Carbon sequestration with Carbon dioxide sink[edit]

I am opposed to merging Carbon sequestration into Carbon dioxide sink. As I suggested on the Carbon sequestration page talk page, I would propose merging Carbon sequestration into Carbon capture and storage because carbon sequestration is one component (storage) of CSS. I view Carbon dioxide sinks as referring to natural carbon cyles and as distinct from human initiatives to capture and dispose of carbon dioxide. In addition this page contains content that is identical to and duplicated on the Carbon dioxide page. --B Carey 04:41, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Oppose As per reasoning of B Carey. Need to keep natural and anthro activity separate. Agree regarding fusion of Carbon sequestration into Carbon capture and storage, makes sense. --Plumbago 11:23, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

I also opposed to merging Carbon sequestration into Carbon dioxide sink. It is important to distinguish the human endeavour to forcibly sequester CO2, and the natural processes associated with Carbon Sinks. A search of "Carbon sequestration" should divert to Carbon Capture and Storage. I would do this myself but I don't know how!Zatoichi26 (talk) 15:51, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Regardless of whether it is opposed or not, Carbon dioxide sequestration redirects to Carbon dioxide sink as opposed to CO2 sequestration, and I believe it should be the other way around (possible with a See Also to Carbon dioxide sink from CO2 sequestration). Would anyone agree? --Dpaulat (talk) 14:13, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Agreed; I've changed the redirect William M. Connolley (talk) 20:06, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Carbon cycle re-balancing[edit]

On the subject of merging, etc. there's a page on carbon cycle re-balancing that might be of interest. I'm suggesting it be deleted at present, but its creator and I would welcome input from other carbon cycle denizens. Cheers, --Plumbago 11:27, 7 June 2006 (UTC)


There needs to different carbon sequestration pages that deal with oceanic, geological, terristrial, and biological due to the differnces in artifical and real life backgrounds. The terristrial sections deal with the carbon dioxide sinks, but all else is more of the projects that are going on with carbon sequestration as a solution or stop gap for global warming. The carbon capture is also very important but very seperate to this entire system of ideas. The carbon capture portion needs to be also seperate due to it having no actual similiarities to carbon sequestration.

P. A. Yeomans and his Keyline system[edit]

Because it is used to persuade, rather than inform, and is not critical to the content, I am removing the following from the article:

Brigadier Sir Stanton-Hicks says in The Nutritional Requirement of Living Things (Pergamon Press - Oxford & New York.) "After three years he (Yeomans) was able to demonstrate that black soil had formed to a depth of 12 in. where scarcely any soil had previously existed on this rock-strewn countryside"

-- 15:09, 9 October 2006 Paleorthid

Because it adds very little to the content, because the claims are not informed by the linked content, and because it is self-promotional, I am removing the following from the article:

A system for increasing soil organic matter was developed by P. A. Yeomans and became an intergral part of his Keyline Design system of land management.

Expanding the article to proven methods for raising soil organic matter can be achieved without focussing unduly on one individual's achievements. -- Paleorthid 04:11, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Oceans sink relative to land sink[edit]

According to numbers published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and shown here with slight modification, the ocean surface has gained 18 petagrams of carbon, the deep ocean has gained 100 petagrams and the land surface has gained 65 petagrams of carbon as a result of human activities since preindustrial times. I don't have access to the original source, otherwise I would revise the article accordingly. The article would benefit tremendously from incorporating this type of information, hopefully someone with better access to this type of information will improve the article along these lines. -- Paleorthid 01:59, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Junk Science[edit]

Sorry this article contains too much opinion and junk science to be credible.

Care to be specific? --Plumbago 11:04, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
"One ton of dry wood is equivalent to 1.8 tons of Carbon dioxide."
That should be enough to give anyone with a high school background in physics a good laugh. Apparently the author never heard of the conservation of mass. Get real guys. This article is pseudo science. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:02, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
Although it could be explained better, the carbon in the wood is combining with the oxygen in the air. There is no violation of the conservation of mass. Ben Hocking (talk|contribs) 18:06, 14 September 2007 (UTC)


Are landfills Carbon sinks??

Not really. First of all, only some of the material entering them consists of carbon recently removed from the atmosphere (wood, food, etc.). Secondly, landfills produce methane as this material is degraded in anaerobic conditions, and methane is a more potent greenhouse gas. Usually this is just burnt off at special vents, but it then goes on to enter the atmosphere as CO2. Were landfills specially built to be airtight, and were only filled with material primarily composed of carbon recently removed from the atmosphere, then, and only then, might they be considered carbon sinks. And there are much better ways of decreasing CO2 in the atmosphere (burning less for a start). Cheers, --Plumbago 09:42, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
So where does all that junk mail/newspaper/packing paper... (i.e. paper) go? It goes into the trash. The vast majority of trash is obviously paper (and plastic which is a carbon chain molecule as well). The trash goes into a landfill. The landfill eventually gets covered with dirt, putting the carbon right back where it came from in the first place - the ground. There's a *huge* carbon sink via landfills that's being ignored due to politics.

... Hmm that would explain why landfills don't mysteriously vanish as the carbon leaks out... or how the carbon (from fossil fuels) got there (in the ground) in the first place... without leaking out... although it had thousands of years to do so... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:53, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes, landfills are carbon sinks. The argument that landfills don't qualify as carbon sinks because the carbon doesn't remain buried there for an eternity shows a lack of understanding of what a carbon sink is and how the carbon cycle works. Burial in a landfill transfers carbon from the terrestrial biomass carbon sink to the terrestrial organic carbon sink, which has a longer residence time. (Residence time = reservoir size at steady state/inflow in or out of the reservoir)
The earth's total stock of carbon at any given moment exists in various sinks. Broadly speaking, these are: the atmosphere, the ocean, terrestrial and oceanic biomass, terrestrial [buried] organic carbon (soils, peat, etc), sediments and sedimentary rocks like coal and limestone (you can actually dice up carbon into more sinks than this, but the ones I mentioned give the basic idea). The total amount of carbon on the earth is for all intents and purposes fixed, and carbon is constantly flowing from one sink to another. Over long periods of time, carbon from all the other sinks eventually winds up in sedimentary rocks at the bottom of the ocean, where it remains for hundreds of millions of years, until it is subducted into the mantle and eventually pumped back into the atmosphere as co2 and other carbon containing gasses by volcanism.
In the landfill example, the landfill is part of the larger terrestrial organic carbon sink. Over periods of decades, some of the carbon in the landfill contained in organic molecules is liberated by bacteria primarily via fermentation in the form of CH4, which then escapes into the atmospheric carbon sink. Over much longer periods of time, what happens to the rest of the organic carbon buried in the landfill will depend on future geologic developments. Under different scenarios, over long periods of time (centuries to millions of years) the remaining carbon will leak into any one, or all, of the other carbon sinks. Marmocet (talk) 14:59, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Capturing CO2 to grow biofuels[edit]

After reading this wiki entry I did some surfing and was amazed to find a company that captures and converts into algae up to 80% of CO2 released from power plant smokestacks. A comparable amount of NOx is also captured.

The algae can then be used for a variety of purposes including conversion to biodiesel or ethanol.

From my fairly limited understanding of the issues involved, this looks to be an incredible concept. Specifically I haven't come across anything else that is so effective at capturing CO2, let alone proposes to turn the capture of CO2 into a profit stream.

What I don't understand completely is the net release of CO2. Assume that we capture the CO2 and convert it to biodiesel. We then burn the biodiesel in a bus, car or train. As such we're still releasing the CO2 but at least we got two energy uses for one release of CO2. Right?

Yup.ErikHaugen 18:32, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Does biodiesel release less CO2 than the coal did in the first place?

The carbon from the smokestack or air or whatever goes into the algae, then into the diesel, then into the air. Any algae not burned as diesel will decay, still going into the air. The net result to the carbon level in the air is pretty much zero compared to the conventional smokestack.ErikHaugen 18:32, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

What if we use the biodiesel at the powerplant and recapture the CO2 for a second time? Then a third time, etc? Have we created an extremely virtuous loop of carbon capture combined with creation of a renewable resource? Suppose further that we convert our automobile fleet to run primarily on electricity and hybrid electrics. If we do this, then the carbon is captured very effectively (50% to 80%) at the smokestack rather than lost at the tailpipe.

This is just like burning wood - you grow wood, burn it, grow more, burn it, etc - net carbon difference in the air is pretty much zero. The only difference is you're growing algae instead. Whether the cars run on electricity or algae-diesel isn't really important, AFAIK.ErikHaugen 18:32, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Am I overlooking something here or is this as good as it looks? If so, I'd ask that the entry be updated to include this option. I would think there are other companies doing this too.

Find a source evaluating that method.ErikHaugen 18:32, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

The company is GreenFuel Technologies and started at MIT. Their website is: 19:44, 5 December 2006 (UTC) Dane Cobble

I can't find anything here talking about your cyclic cannibalistic algae diesel power generation thing - you would need to find a source supporting your carbon sink method.ErikHaugen 18:32, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

An Important Point is Overlooked in this Article.[edit]

The Oceans are the largest carbon sink we have. It is the only carbon sink we have that constantly sequesters carbon by taking it out of the cycle. For now the oceans are taking a great deal of carbon out of circulation in the short term simply by taking CO2 into solution. It is the biological pump that does the rest for us. Without that pump, the ocean will saturate with CO2 and then we are stuck. CO2 will rapidly (rapidly in relative terms we are hear discussing a very large system) and the ecosystem will undergo catastrophic failure.

In short, boys and girls, water pollution should be the NUMBER ONE priority on our list of things to fix. 16:14, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Don Granberry 26-Dec-06

What about the "slow-death" extinction of the Permian? One of the theories is that the planets' oceans warmed enough to release co2 that was stored in near coastal sinks. Sounds like a lake in Africa; a silent killer.

Oxy-fuel combustion[edit]

"Oxyfuel combustion burns the coal in oxygen instead of air, producing only carbon dioxide and water vapour, which are relatively easily separated. Oxyfuel combustion, however, produces very high temperatures, and the materials to withstand its temperatures are still being developed".

The high temperatures are easily reduced by using exhaust as a diluent (in effect to replace the nitrogen in air). I doubt that practical oxyfuel combustion systems will use fuel and oxygen only. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:18, 14 March 2007 (UTC).

need link in enhanced natural sequestration: oceans[edit]

A link to the iron fertilization article would be helpful as it discusses the topic in greater detail. Perhaps changing the first sentence of this article to:

"One way to increase the carbon sequestration efficiency of the oceans is by iron fertilization, the addition of micrometre-sized iron particles in the form of either hematite (iron oxide) or melanterite (iron sulfate) to the water."

I doubt I'll check back here. So if people agree, someone else will have to make the change. 22:46, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

The link to the German page doesn't work because it is misspelled. It's missing an S in front of the T, so it should be "Kohlenstoffsenke" instead of "Kohlentoffsenke". Albrecht Jäkel 16:35, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Appears fixed that the next day. In the future, you can fix that yourself; interwiki links should be at the bottom of the page ([ [ de:Kohlenstoffsenke ] ])László 07:10, 4 May 2007 (UTC)


why is this likely to be merged with carbon sink? CCS is a distinct technology?

(((Also, the "Ocean Storage of CO2" PDF isn't working.> Any suggestions are very appreciated..))) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:19, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Found it! Here: [5]
I've updated the both links to that organisation in the article as well. Thanks for spotting it. Squiddy | (squirt ink?) 17:57, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Broken Link[edit]

It seems that the following link is no longer available. As I'm no member I don't want to change this as an IP :) ZECA Corporation carbon sequestration via serpentinite 13:47, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing it out. Fixed. :) --Moonriddengirl 13:56, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Soil WikiProject[edit]

This article has been added to the Soil WikiProject because of quality concerns with the soil sections. There is an appearance of original research in these sections, and a need for references. Hopefully adding this to the project will attract more attention from the soils community. -- Paleorthid 15:52, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Storage in vegetation and soils[edit]

This section contains many errors and need much improvement. That organic matter is quickly oxidised in the soil is a too general statement. Eg. in the north, organic matter (OM) has kept accumulating since the last glacial period, whereas, as correctly stated, in the tropics it is readily decomposed. I would also argue towards using the term oxidised, since it sounds like it is an abiotic process, which it mostly is not. Then there are the russian black soils or chernosoils that has accumulated huge amounts of organic matter. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:28, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Lets not forget also, the carbon that originally came from the fossil fuels got there in the first place somehow... think about it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:55, 10 December 2008 (UTC)


I cut TGL's [6]. The bit about the oceans looks to be an interpolation by the press office. Nothing I can see in the paper [7] supports it William M. Connolley (talk) 22:52, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Might this refer to the statement "The possibility, however, presents itself and, given the evidence from oxygen data [Bopp et al., 2002], would mean that a larger proportion of emissions is taken up by the ocean than what has been previously assumed." on page 4? --DGaw (talk) 00:15, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Looks like that is exactly what the press report was referring to. TheGoodLocust (talk) 05:11, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Who knows? It might refer to that statement. In which case it is preceeded by 'Another finding is that reducing the land use emissions by a scalar causes total emissions to be more consistent with a model of a constant airborne fraction. It is difficult to rate this as a strong indication that land use emissions are systematically overestimated, as it depends on the validity of the statistical model. This is all too weak too support and that the capacity of the ocean to absorb CO2 may be far greater than previously thought William M. Connolley (talk) 00:38, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
That's why the paper said it was a "possibility" - and that's why I said it "may" be bigger than previously thought. This is of course what I'd expect a good scientist to say - a person with intelligence will always qualify their statements and will rarely state absolutes. Again, as with the other articles, you seem to be looking for every excuse to cut certain things - even if wikipolicy is violated. TheGoodLocust (talk) 03:37, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Article probation[edit]

Please note that, by a decision of the Wikipedia community, this article and others relating to climate change (broadly construed) has been placed under article probation. Editors making disruptive edits may be blocked temporarily from editing the encyclopedia, or subject to other administrative remedies, according to standards that may be higher than elsewhere on Wikipedia. Please see Wikipedia:General sanctions/Climate change probation for full information and to review the decision. --TS 07:53, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Intro: ..."manmade" sinks[edit]

Gender neutrality there? Then we get this:

The main manmade sinks are:
  * Landfills
  * Carbon capture and storage proposals
  1. CCS proposals are not a current sink, let alone a "main" one. Separation and reinjection of natural gas CO2 content might rate; multiple schemes are in operation or advanced planning.
  2. What about afforestation? If the biomass added exceeds the initial biomass (forest is not cleared to plant forest), and the landuse change is permanent (as intended in climate change offset programs), then this is an anthropogenic sink.
  3. Timber use in construction? Much of this is "permanent" in the timescales generally discussed for climate change.
  4. Carbonation of exposed concrete? Probably the largest anthropogenic sink, though it absorbs only a tiny fraction of the CO2 emitted in cement manufacture.
  5. Carbonation of mineral tailings and other mine waste? Smaller.

--Gergyl (talk) 23:12, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Ocean fraction[edit]

Oceans are at present CO2 sinks, and represent the largest active carbon sink on Earth, absorbing more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans put into the air... At the present time, approximately one third of human generated emissions are estimated to be entering the ocean.

Anyone know which of these two is correct (no pedantry please) William M. Connolley (talk) 19:41, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Unexplained removal "thus buffering some effects"[edit]

The text "thus buffering some effects of global warming" was removed from a sentence about a 40-year study of African forests. [8]. There was no explanation for the removal. It seems like a reasonable reflection of the article's significance, so I wonder why it was removed. --TS 13:41, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Hydroxide carbon capture[edit]

"Another long-term option is carbon capture directly from the air using hydroxides. The air would literally be scrubbed of its CO2 content. This idea offers an alternative to non-carbon-based fuels for the transportation sector" I find this idea interesting, especially if it can be used to extract large quantities from the atmosphere, drawing from the existing surplus rather than only decreasing production. But I don't see any citations, so where did it come from? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Forests as Carbon Sinks[edit]

Forests are central to all human life because they provide a diverse range of resources: they store carbon dioxide, aid in regulating climate, purify water, generate air (oxygen) and mitigate natural hazards such as floods. Forests are very productive, as each mature tree produces atleast ten new trees each year, over a 50 to 100 year life span, though under natural conditions most forest trees grow on for several 100 years. Left on their own, forests advance rapidly in a decade or so. Each hectare of dense forest absorbs about 5 to 20 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, depending on the forest type and climate. Many of the fruits and some household pets, are thought to have originated from the forests, and were domesticated and developed on farms and in villages close to the forests. — Preceding unsigned comment added by AesopSmart (talkcontribs) 02:01, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

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Mean Carbon retention by trees.[edit]

The mean CO to C & O carbon converions by trees and vegation is high. This is not mentioned here.

Accorded to data obtained in the 60´s, the conversion of the planetary atmopshere from a predominantly CO / CO2 atmosphere to an Oxygen atmosphere happened through the accumulative effects of tree growth and vegetation. The tree/vegetation itself using the Carbon in CO & CO2 to generate cellulose, bark and leaves.

This is not overal mentioned in this article, which seems quite peculiar.

Add. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:30, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

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