National Academies workshop on carbon sequestration at CSU

There is growing consensus among scientists studying climate change that even the most ambitious proposals for rapidly phasing out fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions may not be enough to stabilize and eventually reduce atmosphere carbon-dioxide (CO2) concentrations to levels that would avoid severe impacts of global climate change. Thus active measures to remove CO2 already in the atmosphere will need to be paired with aggressive emission reductions. This issue is the focus of a new study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine on Developing a Research Agenda for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration. In connection with this study, CSU will host a two-day workshop on “Terrestrial Carbon Sequestration” Sept. 19-20.

CSU has an international reputation as a center for research on the impacts of land management on the terrestrial carbon cycle and greenhouse gas emissions and is a leader in developing technologies to promote carbon sequestration and more climate-friendly land management practices. One of the members of the National Academies study committee is Keith Paustian, a University Distinguished Professor and a professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.

Keith Pautian picture
Keith Paustian
Free and open to the public

The first day of the workshop, Tuesday, Sept. 19, is open to the public and will feature a number of international experts providing briefings to the panel on the current state-of-the-art and knowledge gaps regarding various aspects to carbon sequestration. Among the invited speakers is CSU’s Stephen Ogle, associate professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability. The event is free but registration is required. There are a limited number of seats available but the event will also be webcast for remote viewing. A short pre-conference webinar on the subject will also be held at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14.

The workshop will focus on one of the more promising approaches for CO2 removal referred to as “terrestrial carbon sequestration,” which involves the capture of carbon dioxide from the air by plants, through photosynthesis, and the storage of that carbon in woody biomass and in plant-derived soil organic carbon.

While terrestrial carbon sequestration regularly occurs in nature, there are human actions that can help maintain and enhance the carbon sequestration capacity of land — and help mitigate the effects of climate change. Examples of ways to promote terrestrial carbon sequestration include improved land management practices, such as using cover crops and reduced tillage on croplands, improved grazing management on grasslands, reforestation (planting trees to replace those harvested for timber), and afforestation (planting trees on land that have been used for other purposes).

For more information, visit the study website.

About the National Academies

The National Academies include the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.