Did you know that there’s a difference between nature restoration and carbon removal? So far, the term ‘carbon removal’ has been used loosely to describe methods that capture and temporarily store carbon dioxide in the biosphere as well as those that permanently store carbon away.
However, the term ‘carbon removal’ refers to the long-term removal of carbon and is used to describe methods that take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it durably away from the short carbon cycle. On the other hand, the term ‘nature restoration’ is more appropriate to describe the removal of carbon from the air into the short-term carbon cycle.
Differences between the long-term and short-term carbon cycle
The carbon cycle describes the process of carbon transfer between different reservoirs located on Earth. This cycle is essential for maintaining a stable climate and carbon balance on Earth as well as sustaining life on Earth.
So, what are the differences between the long-term carbon cycle and the short-term carbon cycle?
The long-term carbon cycle is a sink that removes carbon from the carbon cycle for thousands of years. As shown in the diagram above, the movement of carbon from the atmosphere to the storage of it in rocks begins with rain. Atmospheric carbon combines with water to form weak carbonic acid that falls to the surface in rain. Then the acid dissolves rocks through chemical weathering and releases calcium, magnesium, potassium, or sodium ions. The rivers then carry the ions to the ocean. In the ocean, the calcium ions combine with bicarbonate ions to form calcium carbonate, which is made in shell-building organisms (such as corals) and plankton as well. After these organisms die, they sink to the seafloor, and over time, the layers of shell and sediment cement together to form rock, permanently storing the carbon. The long carbon cycle returns carbon into the atmosphere through volcanoes.
The ocean also plays a role in the absorption of carbon in the long-term carbon cycle. At the surface, where air meets water, carbon dioxide gas dissolves in and ventilates out of the ocean steadily. Once in the ocean, carbon dioxide gas reacts with water molecules to release hydrogen, making the ocean more acidic. The hydrogen then reacts with the carbonate from rock weathering to produce more bicarbonate ions.
In contrast, the short-term carbon cycle operates over one to a few hundreds of years, storing carbon in carbon sinks such as forests, as shown in the diagram above. The short-term carbon cycle for the land and ocean works by the photosynthesis of green plants and phytoplankton in the ocean respectively.
The carbon dioxide captured and stored in the short-term carbon cycle has a high risk of reversal since forests can be cut or burnt down, and soils can lose the carbon if regenerative practices are discontinued, for instance, due to lack of funding. Despite how it may seem that the short-term carbon cycle is not as important as the long-term carbon cycle, the short-term carbon cycle still plays a huge role in maintaining a balance of carbon in the atmosphere and giving life to the planet as it transfers carbon from the atmosphere and oceans into organisms and back again.
How can I contribute to restoring nature?
Restoring nature and storing carbon in the short-term carbon cycle can help to increase biodiversity and reduce desertification. Methods such as reforestation and blue carbon from restoring mangroves and seagrasses, as well as regenerative agriculture to restore soil organic carbon content can all aid in storing carbon in the short-term carbon cycle.
However, there are other ways in which we can help with nature restoration. We can do this by offsetting our carbon emissions through carbon neutrality tokens, and in doing so, contribute to green projects that help restore nature. Although this method is more indirect, it would still contribute to restoring nature.
At MetaVerse Green Exchange, we have developed Carbon Neutrality Tokens that can help businesses, including ourselves, to contribute to nature restoration. Our CNT™ enables businesses to access tokenized carbon credits that are verifiably linked to green projects across the world. Furthermore, our tokens are verified by national registries based on international standards, hence businesses can be sure of the transparency, efficiency, and verifiability of their green efforts.
In addition, because our CNT™ is developed using blockchain technology and our Non-Fungible Digital Twin (NFDT™), it offers an immutable and continuously updated record of carbon performance. These measures safeguard the integrity of the CNT™, preventing any incidents of carbon credits being obsolete due to forest fires or other reasons. Our NFDT™ will be used to monitor the nature restoration projects so businesses are updated about the progress of their green efforts. Hence, clients can be assured of the integrity of these green efforts and can even track the project’s progress using NFDT™.
Do your part to contribute to nature restoration! Contact us at email@example.com to find out more!