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What are Carbon Sinks?

What are Carbon Sinks?

Carbon Sink

  • It refers to the places that absorb carbon. Carbon sinks can be both natural as well as man-made.
  • Natural sinks are soil, forests, oceans, polar ice caps, etc.
  • Artificial sinks constitute depleted oil reserves, abandoned mines, etc. The oil and gas industry has used carbon to enhance oil and gas recovery.
  • Carbon is pumped inside oil and gas wells leading to rise in oil and gas levels in these wells.

Popular Carbon Sinks

Green carbon sink

  • Green carbon sink refers to the plants on earth. Plants, during the process of photosynthesis absorb carbon dioxide.
  • Moreover, carbon also remains stored in plants and soil.
  • Plants have short lives and thus release carbon at the end of their lives, but soil stores carbon in the form of organic matter over decades and even centuries.

Blue carbon sink

  • It refers to the coastal and aquatic ecosystem acting as sinks of carbon.
  • Coastal ecosystem constitutes a large variety of plants and huge amount of sediments which act as a storage of carbon.
  • Coastal ecosystem is very efficient in storing carbon. Each square mile of coastal ecosystem can absorb more carbon than what mature forests can absorb.
  • When carbon sinks are destroyed, they stop absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Moreover, the carbon which was stored earlier is also released into the atmosphere.

Blue Carbon Initiative

  • Blue carbon is the carbon stored in the coastal and marine ecosystems.
  • The Blue Carbon Initiative currently focuses on carbon in the coastal ecosystems—mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses.
  • These ecosystems sequester and store large quantities of blue carbon in both the plants and the sediments below.
  • For example, over 95% of the carbon in seagrass meadows is stored in the soils.
  • Blue Carbon Initiative is an international initiative to prevent climate change through conservation and restoration of marine ecosystems.
  • It is based on collaboration among various nations. It focuses on mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses, which are found in every continent, except Antarctica.

Efforts under Blue Carbon Initiative

  • The Blue Carbon Initiative works to protect and restore coastal ecosystems for their role in reducing impacts of global climate change.
  • To support this work, the Initiative is coordinating the International Blue Carbon Scientific Working Group and International Blue Carbon Policy Working Group, which provide guidance for the needed research, project implementation and policy priorities.                        What are Carbon Sinks?
  • Projects are being developed at sites globally to protect and restore coastal ecosystems for their `blue’ carbon value.


Environment & Biodiversity

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