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The base of all organic compounds, which make up living things, is carbon. Energy is stored in carbon as organic molecules like glucose. The energy held within the chemical bonds of these molecules is released during their breakdown and utilized by the organism. Also, the plant’s hard cell walls, which support it, are known to be made of carbon. Research has also proven that carbon-rich organic molecules that were created over millions of years from the remains of extinct animals make up fossil fuels, including coal, oil, and natural gas. These fuels give us the capacity to carry out human activities, but when they are burned, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, causing climate change.

How carbon causes climate change

Carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing climate change and global warming. The Earth’s temperature is rising along with the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Rising sea levels, more frequent and severe weather events, changes in ecosystems, and changes in wildlife are just a few of the negative effects that could result from this. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including those from burning fossil fuels, is crucial to combating climate change. This can be done in a number of ways, such as switching to renewable energy sources, increasing energy efficiency, and implementing more sustainable agricultural and other practices.

Sequestering carbon for a better climate

The act of removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and storing it in a way that prevents it from causing climate change is known as carbon sequestration. Various techniques, including natural and artificial methods, can be used to accomplish this.

When carbon is naturally taken out of the atmosphere and stored in ecosystems including forests, oceans, and soils, this process is known as natural carbon sequestration.

This can occur through processes like photosynthesis, in which plants take up CO2 and store it in their tissues, or by the uptake of CO2 by oceans and other bodies of water.

Utilizing technology to absorb and store carbon is known as artificial carbon sequestration. The process of trapping CO2 emissions from industrial processes or power plants and storing them in underground geologic formations is known as carbon capture and storage (CCS), and it is one popular technique. The process of directly capturing CO2 from the air and storing it in a similar manner is referred to as “direct air capture.”

Carbon sequestration is crucial because it can lessen the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere and lessen the effects of climate change. However, it must be linked with initiatives to lower greenhouse gas emissions and make the switch to cleaner energy sources because it is not a complete answer to the climate change problem.

Carbon credits

The right to emit one metric ton of carbon dioxide or equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) into the atmosphere is represented by carbon credits, a type of tradeable permit.

Carbon credits are a tool for lowering carbon emissions and preventing climate change.

They are often produced by activities that either lower emissions or remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, such as carbon capture and storage systems, renewable energy projects, and conservation programs for forests. 

Independent third-party auditors evaluate and confirm these projects to make sure they adhere to strict requirements and criteria for emissions removal or reduction. The carbon credits are issued after the projects have been examined, and they can then be purchased and sold on carbon markets. In order to offset their own carbon emissions and reach their emission reduction goals, businesses or governments who need to do so can buy carbon credits from these markets. Carbon credits aim to encourage the development and use of low-carbon technology and practices by providing a financial incentive for emissions reduction. Also, projects that lower emissions or advance sustainable development can also be financed in developing nations using carbon credits. 

The carbon market

In a system known as a “carbon market,” businesses can purchase and sell licenses or credits that allow them to emit a specific volume of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.

A carbon market’s objectives are to motivate businesses to minimize their greenhouse gas emissions and to promote the creation and adoption of low-carbon technologies. Governments impose a limit on the total amount of greenhouse emissions covered businesses (such factories, power plants, and airlines) are allowed to release over the course of a specific time period in a carbon market. The assigned number of licenses or allowances, which allow the covered entities to emit a particular volume of greenhouse gases, are subsequently distributed to them. Those who are able to emit less than their allotted quantity may sell their extra allowances to those who are able to emit more than their allotted amount. 

The goal of the carbon market is to give businesses a financial incentive to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

Companies are given a financial incentive to lower their emissions, and the overall volume of greenhouse gas emissions is decreased, thanks to the development of a market for emissions permits.

The carbon market is a crucial part of many nations’ mitigation measures for climate change.

Published by Temidayo Paul

Sustainability specialist, Carbon writer, and Environmentalist.

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