Mitigation Strategiescarbon Capture And Storage

Mitigation strategies relating to global warming involve taking positive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also to enhance sinks aimed at reducing the extent of global warming. Mitigation is any measure that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as using wind-generated energy instead of a coal-fired plant. Mitigation is taking action to reduce or eliminate the problem before it becomes a problem, not just merely allowing the problem to happen and then adjusting to it.

According to the IPCC, in order to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations, the following greenhouse gases would have to be reduced by at least the following percent:

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Necessary to stabilize the Atmosphere



Carbon Dioxide




Nitrous Oxide


Source: IPCC

In a new study conducted by Scott Doney of the Woods Hole Oceano-graphic Institution (WHOI), a newly developed computer model indicates that the land and oceans will absorb less carbon in the future if current trends of emissions continue, which could mean significant shifts in the climate system.

According to Scott Doney, "Time is of the essence in dealing with greenhouse gas emissions. We can start now or we can wait 50 years, but in 50 years we will be committed to significant rapid climate change, having missed our best opportunity for remediation." He also stressed that the Earth's ability to store carbon in its natural reservoirs is inversely related to the rate at which carbon is added to the atmosphere. In other words, as soon as humans cut greenhouse gas emissions, the easier it will be for the Earth to naturally store carbon. He stresses that the study suggests that land and oceans can absorb carbon at a certain rate, but at some point they may not be able to keep up.

Presently, about one-third of all human-generated carbon emissions have dissolved in the ocean. How fast the ocean can remove CO2 from the atmosphere depends on atmospheric CO2 levels, ocean circulation, and mixing rates. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the more there can be in the ocean; faster circulation increases the volume of water exposed to higher CO2 levels in the air, which increases uptake by the ocean.

Global warming, however, will cause ocean temperatures to rise; and warmer water holds less dissolved gas, which means the oceans will not be able to store as much anthropogenic CO2 as global warming continues. A negative side effect on the oceans of global warming is that increasing amounts of CO2 in the oceans will increase its acid content. When CO2 gas dissolves in ocean water, it combines with water molecules (H2O) and forms carbonic acid (H2CO3). The acid releases hydrogen ions into the water. The more hydrogen ions in a solution, the more acidic it becomes. According to the WHOI, hydrogen ions in ocean surface waters are now 25 percent higher than in the preindus-trial era, with an additional 75 percent increase projected by 2100.

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