Plants Can Help Tackle Climate Change

Carbon, the 6th element on the periodic table and the 4th most abundant element in the universe are arguably one of the most important elements on our planet. In fact, all lifeforms on earth are carbon-based where each carbon atom can form bonds with up to 4 other atoms simultaneously. Carbon molecules in our atmosphere are also important for keeping our planet warm.

 

However, the over-reliant on carbon molecules as the world’s energy source has put our planet on great pressure. Today, hydrocarbons from fossil fuels make up 95% of all primary energy source. With one of the byproducts being carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas that can cause climate change when an excessive amount is available in the atmosphere. Therefore, everyone needs to understand how important it is to maintain a well-balanced carbon cycle. 

 

Fortunately, we can still fix this. Firstly, we must start to adopt and develop more alternatives to fossil fuels. The fact is, although it is easy to extract fossil fuels out of the ground, it is extremely difficult to recapture and store them. It took our planet millions of years to successfully capture and store carbon into fossil fuels. 

 

Algal biofuels derived from algae is one of the promising fields currently under research. This is because biofuels create a complete carbon cycle where the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere can be naturally recaptured when growing more plants to make biofuels. Currently, the aviation industry is trying different biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels.

 

For the carbon dioxides already in the atmosphere, we need to find ways to effectively recapture and store them. Luckily the best solution has always been available to us. Plants need carbon dioxide to grow and the more they grow, the more carbon dioxide they require. This is why many scientists suggest growing more trees to tackle climate change. However, trees can only hold so much carbon dioxide before they start releasing them again. Therefore, just growing trees cannot solve climate change by itself. Rather, we must recapture all excessive CO2 while simultaneously reducing our greenhouse gas emissions across every industry.

 

The emission of greenhouse gas per industry globally is approximate: 

  • Energy, heating and cooling (35%)

  • Agriculture, forestry and other land use (24%)

  • Industrial (21%)

  • Transportation (14%)

  • Building (6%) 

 

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