Management stratergies to protect the carbon cycle

  • Created by: EmilyM17
  • Created on: 20-05-19 21:51
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  • Global management strategies to protect the carbon cycle
    • Wetland restoration
      • Wetlands= freshwater marshes, slat marshes, peatlands, flood plains and mangroves
        • Common feature= water table at or near the surface causing ground to be permanently saturated
      • Importance of wetlands in the carbon cycle=
        • occupy 6-9% of earth's land surface and contains 35% of the terrestrial carbon pool
      • Population growth, economic development and urbanisation = a huge amount of pressure on wetland environments
        • This increases destruction of the wetlands, huge amounts of CH4 and CO2 are released to the atmosphere (as well as a loss of biodiversity and wildlife habitacts
      • Protection of wetlands
        • International Convention of Wetlands (RAMSAR) and the European Union Habitacts Directive
          • This project will assist the UK government in meeting its targets to restore 500ha of wetland by 2020
          • Restoration focuses on:
            • Raising local water tables to restore water logged conditions E.g. reconnecting wetland floodplains to rivers by removal of flood embankments + controlled floods Untitled
            • Controlled areas of reclaimed marshland used for farming restored by breaching sea defences
            • Water levels maintained at artificially high levels by diverting or blocking drainage ditches and installing sluice gates
    • Afforestation
      • Includes planting trees in deforested areas or in areas that have never been forested. Because trees are carbon sinks, afforestation can help reduce atmospheric CO2 levels in the long-term, combating climate change. This also reduces flood risks and soil erosion, and increasing biodiversity
      • Protecting tropical trees from loggers, farmers and miners is an inexpensive way of curbing greenhouse gas emissions
        • UN's REDD scheme incentivises developing countries to conserve their rainforests by placing a monetary value on forest conservation
          • EXAMPLE
            • China
              • Government-sponsored afforestation project began in 1978. Aims= to afforest 400,000km2 by 2050. In the decade 2000-2010, 30,000km2 were successfully planted with a non-native, fast-growing species such as poplar and birch. Projects wider purpose= combat desertification and land degradation in the vast semi-arid expanses or northern China
    • Agricultural practices
      • Unsustainable agricultural practices such as over cultivation, overgrazing and excessive intensification= soil erosion and release carbon to the atmosphere
        • Agricultural practices to reduce carbon emissions:
          • Land and Crop management
            • Zero tillage- growing crops without ploughing the soil. Conserves soil's organic content, reducing oxidation and the risk of erosion by wind and water
            • Polyculture- growing annual crops interspersed with trees. Trees provide year-round ground cover and protect soils from erosion
            • Crop residues- leaving crop residues (stems, leaves etc.) on fields after the harvest, to provide ground cover and protection against soil erosion and soils drying out
            • Avoiding use of heavy farming machinery on wet soills, which leads to compaction and the risk of erosion by surface run-off
            • Contour ploughing and terracing on slopes to reduce run-off and eroision
            • Inroducing new strains of rice that grow in drier conditions, so produce less CH4. Applying chemical such as ammonium sulphate which inhibit microbial activities that produce CH4
          • Livestock management
            • Improving the quality of animal feed to reduce enteric fermentation so that less feed is converted to CH4; mixing methane inhibitors with livestock feed
          • Manure management
            • Controlling the way manure decomposes to reduce CH4 emissions. Storing manure in anaerobic containers and capturing CH4 as a source of renewable energy
    • International agreements to reduce carbon emissions
      • Co-operation has been patchy, for a variety of economic reasons some of the worlds largest greenhouse-gas emitters have opted to pursue narrow self-interest
      • Kyoto Protocol (1997)
        • Richest countries agreed to legally binding reductions on CO2 emissions
        • Several rich countries (USA included) refused to ratify the treaty
      • Paris Agreement
        • Aims= to reduce global CO2 emissions below 60% of 2010 levels by 2050, and keep warming below 2 degrees.
          • Countries will set their own voluntary targets. These are not legally binding
        • Rich countires will transfer significant funds nd technologies to poor countires to help them achieve targets.
        • Major CO2 emitters such as India and China argue that global reductions in CO2 are the responsibility of the rich countries because:
          • Countires such as China and India are still relatively poor and industiralisation, based on fossil fuels engery, is needed to raise standards to levels comparable to those in the developed world
          • Hisorically, Europe and America through their own industiralisation and economic development are to blame for contemporary global warming and climate change
    • Cap and trade
      • Offers and alternative, international, market-based approach to limit CO2 emissions
        • Under this scheme, businesses are allocated an annual quota for their CO2 emissions.
          • If the emit less than their quota they receive carbon credits which can be traded on international markets.
          • Businesses that exceed their quotas must purchase additional credits or incur financial penalties
          • Carbon offsets are credits awarded to countries and companies for schemes such as afforestation, renewable energy and wetland restoration. They can be brought to compensate for excessive emissions elsewhere

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