Acting for the Planet: The Crucial Role of Carbon Storage

December 21, 2023
- Sarah Chassany & Gaétan Pique

In the face of the climate emergency, understanding the natural mechanisms that regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) is becoming crucial. The increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is the main cause. To combat climate change, we need to rapidly activate two levers: reducing our greenhouse gas emissions andincreasing natural carbon sinks.

Nature has a superpower: photosynthesis

Through the process of photosynthesis, vegetation acts as a sink for atmospheric carbon. Photosynthesis is the vital, natural process by which plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and, using solar energy and water, convert it into carbohydrates while releasing oxygen into the air.

Photosynthesis plays an essential role in regulating CO2 flows, since it naturally limits the increase of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. 🌱

Photosynthetic process enabling plant growth.

The importance of photosynthetic carbon capture

Carbon capture through photosynthesis is essential in the fight against climate change. By absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, this natural process helps to limit the increase in its concentration, and thus to limit the effects of human activities on the climate.

Short carbon cycle - Diagram of CO2 flows

Carbon capture and storage: two key concepts

The notion of "carbon capture" corresponds to the quantity of CO2 absorbed by vegetation, via photosynthesis, over one year (expressed in tCO2/ha): this is the natural flow carried by the plant.

It differs from the notion of "carbon stock", which is defined as the quantity of carbon contained in soils at a given time t.

With the Netcarbon solution, these two indicators are estimated using an agronomic model to simulate CO2 flows between agricultural plots and the atmosphere. By integrating these flows on an annual basis, we can estimate carbon capture over a crop year. Our model outputs also enable us to quantify the impact of certain practices on soil carbon stocks.

The bathtub metaphor clearly illustrates this difference: the inflow of water represents the capture and storage of carbon, while the water in the bathtub represents the stock of carbon.

Promoting Sustainable Practices

Carbon capture through photosynthesis is a natural solution for mitigating climate change, by reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. By storing CO2 in biomass and soils, this process plays an important role in regulating the climate and preserving biodiversity. Combating climate change therefore involves promoting ecological practices such as reforestation and the development of agro-ecological infrastructures (AEI).

Photosynthesis is more than just a biological process; it's a natural and powerful solution to climate change. By encouraging practices that support this natural mechanism, we can make a significant difference to our planet.

By acting now, together we can fight climate change, so contact us!