Carbon Sequestration: Why & how? – Future Directions International

Extract from an artilce by Christopher Johns, Research Manager, Northern Australia and Land Care Research Programme

Key Points

  • To achieve the global warming targets set by the Paris climate change conference it may be necessary to actively remove and store greenhouse gas currently in the atmosphere.
  • The capture and storage of carbon will be key to reducing future greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The storage of greenhouse gas underground is a promising solution but there are still capability gaps to be filled before its large-scale implementation can be achieved.
  • Large quantities of greenhouse gas can be stored in the oceans but the cost may be prohibitive and environmental consequences are unknown.
  • Restoring and improving our agricultural soils will permanently sequester carbon and improve soil health and productivity.


There exists a strong and growing body of scientific research evidence that supports the belief that to achieve the targets set by the Paris climate change conference, greenhouse gas must be actively removed from the atmosphere and stored. Carbon capture and storage technology will also have a key role in reducing future greenhouse gas emissions. There is a range of storage options. Storage underground is technologically and financially feasible but gaps in capability still exit and implementation time may be significant. It may be possible to store large volumes of carbon in the ocean; however, this will require very large sums of capital investment in infrastructure and may have unforeseen, adverse environmental consequences. Carbon sequestration from revegetation and plantation programs can provide a significant but shorter-term contribution to atmospheric greenhouse gas reduction. Actively increasing soil carbon can make a significant contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere while improving the quality and productivity of our agricultural soils.

SOURCE: Johns, Christopher. “Carbon Sequestration: Why & how?” Future Directions International,  16 March 2017.

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