Contributors: Moreau, Vincent (University of Lausanne)
Scientific paper contribution: Next level carbon cycling, quantifying the carbon recycling potential
The paper is co-authored by Frédéric Meylan, Suren Erkman
Abstract: Carbon dioxide emissions from industrial activities have accumulated in the atmosphere in excess of 880 gigatons (Gt) since preindustrial times. The conventional approaches to climate change, market based mechanisms, energy efficiency or technology have proved less efficient than recent economic downturns at curbing the emission rate. We propose to account for the atmospheric stock as source of carbon. The current trend shows an average of 7.8 Gt of carbon emitted per year from fossil fuel combustion and cement production, excluding land use changes. As opposed to carbon capture and storage, this article argues in favor of closing the anthropogenic carbon cycle. We attempt to quantify the carbon recycling rate through the indirect route as photosynthesis has potential for both energy and non-energy related products. The difference between emissions and the amount of carbon re-cycled indicates the necessary reductions to reach a steady state and mitigate climate change.