We know that trees are the most efficient "tool" we have to get CO2 out of the air, but the problem is that most of their fixated CO2 will naturally reenter the carbon cycle through decomposition. Would it be possible to remove this carbon by sinking the trees deep underwater (and possibly putting some rocks / sand on them)? How effective would this be, if at all? (I was unable to find any studies on this, if there are please point my to them.)

Update: I found a study regarding wood burial on land, for those interested. This might or might not be easier than under water, are there are any field trials either way? https://cbmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1750-0680-3-1

  • $\begingroup$ Effective? Not at all. Transportation alone would require enormous amounts of energy. $\endgroup$ – Jan Doggen Aug 6 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ Where would the many trillions of £ / $ come from to finance this mad enterprise? How would we get permission from other countries to chop down their forests? Who would pay for the riot control when outraged environmentalists rioted? Wars are extremely expensive, so who would pay for the wars that ensued when countries with forests we attempted to take tried to defend their territory? How would you console the relatives of the dead? How could any politician who attempted to implement this crazy scheme ever hope to be re-elected? Any answers? $\endgroup$ – Michael Walsby Aug 6 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ "Where would the many trillions of £ / $ come from to finance this mad enterprise?" - I'm not talking costs since this is more about general feasibility. However, if one where serious about co2 removal, it might be one of the cheaper methods. And why be so adversarial and assume that countries need to be invaded (lol) - maybe such a scheme might be financed by co2-offsetting and the wood is just bought wholesale. $\endgroup$ – Quote Aug 6 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ Well, if wood didn't float... $\endgroup$ – jeffronicus Aug 6 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep-sea_wood $\endgroup$ – Keith McClary Aug 7 at 3:45

No,it would be quite impossible. Apart from the immense labour and expense of cutting down the world's forests, transporting the valuable timber to deep ocean and finding some way to sink it, environmentalists would have a fit at the very idea! In any case, although in nature some of the wood and vegetable matter decays and emits CO2 and methane,it doesn't all decay. As proof of that, you need only look at all the lignite deposits and coal seams around the world.

Part of the solution to the rising CO2 level is the very opposite of what you suggest. The foreign aid budget should be used to pay subsistence farmers and peasants in impoverished third world countries to collect seeds and set up plant nurseries to replant the rainforest, and to make timber plantations of the more valuable trees which would mature in 40 or 50 years time to provide them with income. The alternative is to pour the aid money into the Swiss bank accounts of corrupt politicians, which is what often happens now..

  • $\begingroup$ Obviously I didnt mean to cut existing forests (or only so that they can regenerate) and am very much on-board with your proposed solution. But even then you'd face the problem of what to do with the wood generated in this manner. Maybe a more accurate question would be how much Co2-equivalent units will be released again in deep-sea environments per kg wood, to set this in a proportion to the total mass that'd be necessary to effectively combat global warming (and ofc factoring in all the efforts to get the wood to the bottom of the ocean). $\endgroup$ – Quote Aug 6 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ Ideally the wood regenerated by replanting the rainforest would be left in situ as a habitat for all the valuable wild life which is now in danger. The timber plantations would provide a habitat for a while, but not such a varied one. They would also provide an income for these impoverished people when they matured. You'd be amazed at the value of a single mahogany or teak tree. There are many other valuable timbers. Another thing that might surprise you is the speed that trees grow in a rainforest environment, Some might be harvestable in as little as 30 years. Disposal at sea is impractical. $\endgroup$ – Michael Walsby Aug 7 at 9:17

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