Strategies to enhance the carbon capacity of the terrestrial and oceanic sinks tend to focus on landscapes – forest canopy, soil composition, and sea water chemistry.
However, we must not neglect the role of animals in maintaining the natural carbon cycle.
It turns out, as Professor Geoffrey Ozin writes in Advanced Science News this week, whales have the capacity to absorb enormous amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Estimates place the carbon sequestering capacity of a whale to be similar to around 1000 trees with an average whale capturing up to 33 tons of CO2 over its 60-year lifetime, centuries.
Efforts to re-establish whale populations, together with large scale reforestation, therefore offer a surprinsingly impactful solution to meeting global emission targets.