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For all the high-tech solutions proposed to draw carbon out of the atmosphere, the low-tech of the natural world can be just as effective. Planting trees falls into this category. So does farming kelp. As Maine Public Radio reports, Portland-based Running Tide Technologies is growing “massive amounts of seaweed” that will then be buried and keep carbon captured well into the future.
“We’re just fishing for carbon now, and kelp’s the net,” Capt. Rob Odlin told Maine Public. The idea is to do the reverse of producing oil: turning plants into carbon-stores, but keeping them in the ground.
Why This Matters: We need an all-of-the-above approach for sequestering carbon, and kelp grows exceptionally fast — up to two feet a day — making it especially effective at sequestration. And because the plant eventually sinks to the bottom of the ocean, it’s less likely that the carbon will be released in comparison to trees. Conceivably, the Running Tide system could move billions of tons of carbon to the seafloor every year. Researchers are still testing the environmental impact of scaling up, but “the no-action alternative is very grim.”
The Gulf of Maine is a climate hotspot: Running Tide Technologies’s maritime venture is based in Portland, which sits on the Gulf of Maine. This body of water is one of the fastest-warming on the planet, making it a living laboratory for studying the impacts of climate change on marine life. Some signs of change in this water body than spans from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia:
Tiny crustaceans called copepods that are a key source of food for endangered North Atlantic Right Whales have declined by as much as 90% in the gulf because of warming waters. More data on their movement will likely come out of the recently-resumed plankton survey.
Exploring and developing nature-based solutions to climate change will be crucial to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 (or earlier). What’s more is that these approaches are localized, benefiting communities directly and providing much-needed job opportunities.
Many European cities are known for their impressive walls, but Madrid is taking siege protection to the next level. The city has embarked on a project to build a 75-kilometer urban forest surrounding the city, planting one million new indigenous trees. Madrid’s councilor for the environment and urban development, Mariano Fuentes, says the project will “improve the air quality in the […]
The Amazon River Basin is home to our planet’s largest rainforest: roughly the size of the forty-eight contiguous United States and covers about 40% of the South American continent. While this vast forest has traditionally been a carbon sink, for years scientists have feared that the Amazon could turn into a carbon source instead. A […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer It’s official: the Biden administration has announced it will end large-scale logging in the Tongass National Forest and restore the “roadless rule” that was previously rolled back under Trump. The administration says it will focus its efforts in the Tongass on forest restoration, recreation, and other non-commercial ventures. Officials are now celebrating the […]
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