Carbon Sequestration by Leaves and Dead Plants Carbonisation
To prevent the catastrophic effects of global warming, as explained in the previous post “How much does switching to totally clean energy cost?” we need to use two general approaches:
- stopping future greenhouse gas emissions (which is best done by stopping the burning of fossil fuels as explained and significantly reducing meat & dairy consumption, as well reducing food waste)
- removing existing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, down to a stable level (around 350ppm).
In many previous posts, I’ve already discussed how to tackle the first point. In this one, I will propose alternative ideas on how to deal with removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
This idea is about a year old. Some recent findings confirmed the idea’s validity. Only the last part about the government payment of subsidies has been added recently, as a very viable booster. In my knowledge, no one has tried something like this before — at least not in the way I will describe here.
Overall CO2 emission could be reduced by collecting fallen leaves and dead wood (dry and fallen branches and woods) from the forests around the world, then drying them out and processing them either into building materials (boards, beams, furniture…) or into charcoal, activated carbon, graphite, and graphene for multipurpose use but most significantly for batteries.
To boost the schema, governments should start paying people to stop cutting forests and instead collect foliage, dead wood, and plants, processing it into activated carbon that can be used in batteries, which would create additional profit and speed up switching to clean energy, preventing future carbon emissions.
If we look closely at the Keeling curve, we will notice that the main issue is seasonal difference between sequestering and emitting CO2. The season when plants are fully grown, green, and able to sequester CO2 more than it is emitted lasts only 4 months (from the end of the May to mid-to-end of September), while plant degradation & harvesting and soil preparation period lasts 8 months. Equally, man-made CO2 emission will fluctuate during seasons, depending on energy requirements.
It is obvious that we must significantly reforest large portions of Earth with fast-growing, fast-sequestering plants (that would, if possible, stay evergreen during the entire year), continually taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, if we intend to make any meaningful impact on climate change.
Even if we convert to 100% clean energy tomorrow, other sources of greenhouse gases (meat & dairy production, landfills, deforestation, wildfires…) could tip climate change past the point of no return, so those things should be addressed promptly.
Over many years, land plants and sea life created a balance between how much CO2 is emitted and sequestered over the year. But, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 1760, with significant changes in our lifestyle, humans have released huge amounts of CO2 by burning coal, gas, and oil stored in earth’s crust for millions of years. Additionally, farming animals on scales that could be counted in billons just made all those things worse.
The general idea behind the model I am presenting here is to temporarily (over the next 10 years or a bit more) change the balance in favour of sequestering, so that natural emission, which accounts for 90% of all emissions, would slightly but continuously decrease, allowing the natural environment to pull more CO2 from the atmosphere than is emitted in a typical year.  
The modelled global Net Primary Productivity (NPP) says that, out of a total 57 GtC a year, 19 GtC per year goes into dead leaves, 17 GtC per year into dead wood, and 21 GtC per year to dead root structures.
We could prevent decomposition and therefore block significant portions of those emissions by collecting foliage, dead branches and trees, shrubs, dead grass, and other materials and convert them into useful products.
Processing foliage into activated carbon, graphite, and graphine (all stable forms of carbon) would starve microorganisms, partially preventing the natural emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) by microbial decay, allowing plants to pull more CO2 from the atmosphere.
Without materials decomposing, natural CO2 emission would be reduced significantly, as plants continue to pull CO2 from the …
You can read full story at www.grisanik.com, there is also Carbon Sequestration by Leaves — Part 2 for more information.
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