Earth's Ability to Absorb Our Carbon Emissions Keeping Pace, For Now

Martin Bech/CC BY 2.0

A new study by scientists from the University of Colorado and NOAA finds that the ability of Earth to soak up our carbon (in forests, oceans, swamps and all the other carbon sinks) is so far keeping pace with the increased emissions over the past 50 years. That is, they keep absorbing about half the CO2 we emit, despite how much we've increased it.

Report co-author Pieter Tans:


Globally these carbon dioxide sinks have roughly kept pace with emissions from human activities...However we do not expect this to continue indefinitely. The uptake of carbon dioxide by the oceans and ecosystems is expected to slow down gradually. As the oceans acidify we know it becomes harder to stuff even more CO2 into the oceans. We just don't see a letup, globally, yet.

While the planet is absorbing twice as much CO2 today as it did 50 years ago, its the rest of that, ending up in the atmosphere, that, along with other greenhouse gases, is warming the planet.

The original research was published in Nature

Tags: Carbon Emissions | Global Climate Change | Global Warming Science

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