Carbon Capture vs Carbon Sequestration

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Carbon Sequestration are related concepts but have some key differences

Industrialization of coast lines

Huge desalination plant in Dubai.
Scientist collecting a sediment core to asses carbon sequestration rates in the sediment of mangroves.

Carbon Capture vs. Carbon Sequestration

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Carbon Sequestration are related concepts but have key differences.


Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): CCS refers to the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial sources, such as power plants or refineries, before they are released into the atmosphere. The captured CO2 is then transported and stored in underground geological formations, such as depleted oil and gas fields or deep saline aquifers, where it is intended to remain trapped and isolated from the atmosphere. The goal of CCS is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by preventing CO2 from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.


Carbon Sequestration: Carbon sequestration is a broader term that encompasses various natural and artificial processes by which carbon is captured and stored, not limited to industrial emissions. It includes both natural carbon sinks, such as forests, wetlands, oceans, and soil, which naturally absorb and store carbon dioxide, as well as human-engineered methods of removing CO2 from the atmosphere, such as afforestation (planting trees) or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). Carbon sequestration aims to reduce the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, helping to mitigate climate change.


CCS specifically focuses on capturing and storing CO2 emissions from industrial sources, carbon sequestration encompasses a broader range of natural and artificial processes that capture and store carbon, including those beyond industrial emissions.


There are several proven natural carbon sequestration methods that effectively capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Here are a few examples:


  • Forests: Trees play a crucial role in carbon sequestration through the process of photosynthesis. They absorb CO2 from the air and store carbon in their trunks, branches, leaves, and roots. Forests act as important carbon sinks, helping to mitigate climate change. Preserving existing forests and promoting afforestation (planting new trees) are effective ways to enhance natural carbon sequestration.
  • Oceans: The world’s oceans also act as significant carbon sinks. They absorb a substantial amount of CO2 from the atmosphere, which dissolves into the seawater and forms carbonic acid. This process, known as oceanic carbon sequestration, helps to reduce the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, excessive CO2 absorption can lead to ocean acidification, which has adverse effects on marine ecosystems.
  • Wetlands: Wetlands, including marshes, swamps, and peatlands, are valuable carbon sequestration habitats. They contain organic-rich soils that accumulate and store carbon over long periods. Wetlands can retain large amounts of carbon in their vegetation and soils, making them important natural carbon sinks. However, wetland degradation and destruction can release stored carbon back into the atmosphere.
  • Soil Carbon Sequestration: Proper land management practices, such as conservation agriculture, agroforestry, and improved grazing techniques as well as composting, can enhance soil carbon sequestration. These practices promote the accumulation of organic matter in soils, increasing carbon storage and improving soil health. Healthy soils can store significant amounts of carbon while providing additional benefits like improved water retention and nutrient cycling.


These natural carbon sequestration methods have been scientifically validated and play a vital role in mitigating climate change. By protecting and preserving these ecosystems and implementing sustainable land and forest management practices, we can maximize their potential as effective carbon sinks.


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