Collaborating Authors

The moon is emitting carbon, raising questions about how it was formed

New Scientist

The moon has its own carbon emissions, which changes our understanding of how it may have formed. Using data collected by Japan's Kaguya lunar orbiter over a year and a half, Shoichiro Yokota at Osaka University in Japan and his colleagues have discovered that the moon emits carbon ions across almost its entire surface. These plains are made of younger material, and as such emit more carbon because they have been exposed to space for a shorter period of time, says Yokota. Older regions have been exposed to more space weathering, and so have lost much of their carbon already. The researchers compared the moon's carbon emissions with estimates of the carbon supplied by two external sources – the solar wind, and collisions with micrometeoroids – and found they didn't match up.

We've totted up all Earth's carbon - and 99 per cent is underground

New Scientist

Earth contains 1.85 billion billion tonnes of carbon, according to a 10-year research project. If it were all combined into a single sphere, it would be larger than many asteroids. The new estimate comes from the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO), a huge international research programme established in 2009. Its main goal has been to estimate the scale of the carbon cycle, "from where carbon gets released in volcanic eruptions and fractures, to where it goes into the atmosphere, gets filtered down into the biosphere and gets buried as sediment and rock", says Celina Suarez at the University of Arkansas. This has involved everything from measuring the release of carbon dioxide gas from volcanoes to studying diamonds (a solid form of carbon) from deep in the mantle.

Wind and Solar Power Advance, but Carbon Refuses to Retreat

NYT > Economy

Two decades have passed since diplomats from around the world emerged from a conference hall in Kyoto, Japan, with what was billed as the first deal ever to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases that are relentlessly warming the earth's atmosphere. Climate diplomacy has made a lot of progress since then. All but one of the world's nations -- the United States -- have enlisted in the cause, making concrete commitments to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Leaving aside President Trump's past declarations that climate change is a hoax, there are heartening signs that the strategy may work: Global carbon-dioxide emissions have stopped rising. Coal use in China may have peaked.

Bamboo's Ability to Store Carbon Called Into Question

National Geographic

The plants actually appeared to release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, the team reported in February in the journal Plant Biology. These releases were higher when outside temperatures were warmer and in the younger plant. The gas may have come from incomplete photosynthesis as the plants grew quickly, through other processes inside the plants, or from the plants' ability to draw the gas up out of the soil, says Zachariah, who notes more research is needed.From the day-long study period, the scientists extrapolated across the whole eight-year lifespan of the bamboo, estimating that the plants are net emitters of carbon dioxide during that time, not net sinks, as has been commonly assumed.

U.S. efforts to suck carbon from air must be ramped up: report

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – The nation needs to ramp up efforts to suck heat-trapping gases out of the air to fight climate change, a new U.S. report said. The report Wednesday from the National Academy of Sciences says technology to do so has gotten better, and climate change is worsening. By midcentury, the world needs to be removing about 10 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide out of the air each year. Last year the world put nearly 37 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air, and emissions have been rising. Steve Pacala, Princeton University biologist and chair of the panel, said in an interview that having ways to remove heat-trapping gases from the atmosphere would make the job of tackling climate change "much easier."