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Climate Change

Over 2,300 Billion Tonnes Of Inorganic Carbon In Top Soil Could Help In Climate Change Mitigation: Study

Researchers, led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences reveal vast inorganic carbon reserves in soil, crucial for climate mitigation

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User A disturbance of soil inorganic carbon can hamper plant growth by disrupting the soil's ability to counter acidity and regulate nutrients

New Delhi:  Apr 12 A new research has estimated more than 2,300 billion tonnes of inorganic carbon in minerals in the top two metres of soil worldwide, a finding that scientists say “underscores the urgency of incorporating inorganic carbon into climate change mitigation strategies.” Inorganic carbon is found in ores and minerals, as opposed to organic carbon, which can be found in nature through plants and animals. Researchers said that international initiatives aimed at increasing organic carbon content in soil – soil organic carbon (SOC) – should also consider the critical role of soil inorganic carbon (SIC) in achieving sustainable soil management and climate change mitigation.

Also Read: These Young Eco-Warriors Are Leading The Charge For Climate Action!

Researchers said,

Solid SIC, often calcium carbonate, tends to accumulate more in arid regions with infertile soils, which has led many to believe it is not important.

However, SIC also plays a dual role in storing carbon and supporting ecosystem functions that depend on it, said the researchers, led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Thus, they said, SIC can be an “additional lever” in maintaining and enhancing carbon sequestration, which refers to capturing carbon dioxide, either from the air or directly from the point of production, and storing it for long term. Carbon sequestration is considered a key method for removing carbon from the Earth’s atmosphere.

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While society has recognised the importance of soil to be fundamental to nature-based solutions for combating climate change, the major focus has been on the SOC. It is now clear that inorganic carbon deserves equal attention, the researchers said.

They said their SIC estimates of more than 2,300 billion tonnes are more than five times the carbon found in all of the world’s vegetation put together, and that this could be key to understanding how carbon moves around the world.

Huang Yuanyuan, professor, the Institute of Geographic Sciences, CAS, and co-lead author of the study published in the journal ‘Science’ said,

But here’s the thing: This huge carbon pool is vulnerable to changes in the environment, especially soil acidification. Acids dissolve calcium carbonate and remove it either as carbon dioxide gas or directly into the water. Many regions in countries like China and India are experiencing soil acidification due to industrial activities and intense farming. Without remedial actions and better soil practices, the world is likely to face a disturbance of SIC in the next thirty years.

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A disturbance of SIC can hamper plant growth by disrupting the soil’s ability to counter acidity, regulate nutrients and stabilise organic carbon.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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