Glossary of CDR Related Terminology

Afforestation: The process of planting trees, or sowing seeds, in a barren land devoid of any trees to create a forest. The term should not be confused with reforestation, which is the process of specifically planting native trees into a forest that has decreasing numbers of trees.

Agricultural management practices: Tillage and reconsolidation; no-tillage and surface residues; plants and crop rotations; irrigation, manure, and fertilization practices; and grazing management.

Alkalinity: the capacity of water to resist changes in pH that would make the water more acidic. Alkalinity is the strength of a buffer solution composed of weak acids and their conjugate bases.

Arable land: Any land capable of being ploughed and used to grow crops.

Basalt rock: A mafic extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of magnesium-rich and iron-rich lava exposed at or very near the surface of a terrestrial planet or a moon. More than 90% of all volcanic rock on Earth is basalt.

Biodiversity: the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems.

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS):  A hybrid of natural and technological approaches. The first step involves growing biomass to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Rather than the biomass staying in place as in the case of planting trees, it is harvested and subjected to one of several processes—combustion, fermentation, thermochemical conversion such as pyrolysis or gasification, or microbial conversion—that release the original carbon as CO2, which is then captured and stored. Energy thus generated could produce either electricity or, through electrolysis, hydrogen.

Biofuels: A fuel derived directly from living matter.

Biomass: The total mass of organisms in a given area or volume or organic matter used as a fuel, especially in a power station for the generation of electricity.

Bio-sequestration: Is the capture and storage of the atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by continual or enhanced biological processes. Biosequestration as a natural process has occurred in the past and was responsible for the formation of the extensive coal and oil deposits which are now being burned.

Bioprospecting: The process of discovery and commercialization of new products based on biological resources. These resources or compounds can be important for and useful in many fields, including pharmaceuticals, agriculture, bioremediation, and nanotechnology.

Carbon Capture (CC): The process of trapping carbon dioxide at its emission source, transporting it to a usually underground storage location, and isolating it there: New carbon capture technologies provide an additional weapon against global warming.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): A technology that can capture the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced from the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes, preventing the carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU): The process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) to be recycled for further usage. Forms of CCU includes the conversion of CO2 into commercial products such as plastics, concrete and reactants for various chemical synthesis.

Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2e): A term for describing different greenhouse gases in a common unit. For any quantity and type of greenhouse gas, CO2e signifies the amount of CO2 which would have the equivalent global warming impact.

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR): Also known as greenhouse gas removal or (GGR), usually refers to human-driven methods of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequestering it for long periods.

Carbon Dioxide Utilization (CO2U): The process of using (emitted) carbon dioxide (CO2) as a feedstock for new products. The CO2 is fed back into the production process and is treated as a carbon resource, rather than a polluting emission.

Coastal Ocean Alkalinization (COA): A carbon dioxide removal (CDR) climate engineering strategy that chemically increases ocean carbon uptake and storage.

Carbon pool: Reservoirs of carbon that have the capacity to both take in and release carbon. Each of these pools exchange carbon with one another, known as carbon fluxes, comprising what is known as the global carbon cycle.

Carbonate minerals: Those minerals containing the carbonate ion, CO₃²⁻

Cationic polymer flocculant or flocculent: Causes tiny particles to come together. When this happens, they build size into a much larger “floc” particle. Then gravity takes over and drops the “floc” masses to the bottom.

Carbon mineralization: (Aka mineral carbonization, mineral weathering, rock weathering): The fixation of CO2 by the use of alkaline and alkaline-earth oxides, such as magnesium oxide (MgO) and calcium oxide (CaO), that are present as naturally occurring silicate rocks such as serpentine and olivine. This is a process of sequestering CO2 by injecting it into basaltic rocks and other geologic rock formations. This process offers effectively permanent sequestration of CO2 in a solid form, this is a reaction that happens naturally—albeit at an exceptionally slow rate.

Centrifugation: The process where a mixture is separated through spinning.

CO2 fixation efficiency or сarbon assimilation: The conversion process of inorganic carbon. The gross amount of carbon dioxide fixed is much larger since approximately 40% is consumed by respiration following photosynthesis.

Coastal Ocean Alkalinization (COA): One of the ocean-based carbon dioxide removal (CDR) methods that aims at enhancing the natural and slow process of weathering by which CO2 is taken out of the atmosphere.

Coastal management: The defense against flooding and erosion, and techniques that stop erosion to claim lands.

Cover crops: Plants that are planted to cover the soil rather than for the purpose of being harvested. Cover crops may be an off-season crop planted after harvesting the cash crop. They may grow over winter.

Deforestation: The clearing of trees, transforming a wooded area into cleared land.

Direct Air Capture (DAC): A technique in which CO2 (and potentially other greenhouse gases) are removed directly from the atmosphere. The current technique uses large fans that move ambient air through a filter, using a chemical adsorbent to produce a pure CO2 stream that could be stored (DACCS).

Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS): A process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO. 2) directly from the ambient air (as opposed to capturing from point sources) and generating a concentrated stream of CO2 for sequestration.

Earth System Models (ESM): These are models that seek to simulate all relevant aspects of the Earth system. They include physical, chemical and biological processes, therefore reaching far beyond their predecessors, the global climate models (GCM), which just represented the physical atmospheric and oceanic processes.

Enhanced oil recovery (EOR): Also called tertiary recovery, this is the extraction of crude oil or gas from an oil or gas field. The three primary techniques for EOR: thermal, gas injection, and chemical injection.

Enhanced weathering: A geoengineering approach that use the dissolution of natural or artificially created minerals to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is a process of speeding up natural weathering that can include spreading pulverized rock, such as basalt or olivine, on the ocean (ocean alkanization) or on agricultural land, fields and beaches (terrestrial enhanced weathering. This strategy exploits a natural process wherein reactive materials like peridotite or basaltic lava chemically bond with CO2, forming solid carbonate minerals such as limestone that can store CO2 for millions of years. The reactive materials can be combined with CO2-bearing fluid at carbon capture stations, or the fluid can be pumped into reactive rock formations where they naturally occur for permanent sequestration.

Enhanced weathering research: How these natural processes may be enhanced to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere to be stored in solid carbonate minerals or ocean alkalinity.

Enzyme: a substance produced by a living organism which acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction.

Forest management: The overall administrative, legal, economic, and social aspects, as well as scientific and technical aspects, such as silviculture, protection, and forest regulation.

Flocculation: The process by which individual particles of clay aggregate into clotlike masses or precipitate into small lumps. Flocculation occurs because of a chemical reaction between the clay particles and another substance, usually saltwater.

GHGs: Greenhouse Gases (GHGs): Gasses that absorb and emit radiant energy within the thermal infrared range. The primary greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and ozone (O3).

Gigaton (Gt): Gigaton is a unit of mass equal to 1,000,000,000 metric tons. A metric ton is exactly 1000 kilograms making a gigaton equal to 1000000000000 kilograms (1 Gt = 1000000000000 k).

Greenhouse Gas Removal Technologies (GGRTs): When referring exclusively to carbon it is also known as carbon dioxide removal or (CDR). GGRT usually refers to human-driven methods of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and sequestering it for long periods.

Hyaloclastites: A volcanoclastic accumulation or breccia consisting of glass (from the Greek hyalus) fragments (clasts) formed by quench fragmentation of lava flow surfaces during submarine or subglacial extrusion. … Several minerals are found in hyaloclastite masses.

Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs): These models are designed to help us understand how human development and societal choices affect each other and the natural world, including climate change. They are “integrated” because they combine different strands of knowledge to model human society alongside parts of the Earth system.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): An intergovernmental body of the United Nations that provides the world with objective, scientific information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of the risk of human-induced climate change, its natural, political, and economic impacts.

Land management: The process of managing the use and development of land resources. Land resources are used for a variety of purposes which may include organic agriculture, reforestation, water resource management and eco-tourism projects.

Land use practices: The management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as settlements and semi-natural habitats such as arable fields, pastures, and managed woods.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): A methodology for assessing environmental impacts associated with all the stages of the life-cycle of a commercial product, process, or service.

Microalgae or microphytes: Microscopic algae, typically found in freshwater and marine systems, living in both the water column and sediment. They are unicellular species which exist individually, or in chains or groups.

Natural Climate Solutions (NCS): Actions for conservation, restoration and improved land management that increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in landscapes and wetlands across the globe.

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC): Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs): Technologies that remove and sequester carbon dioxide from the air and play a significant role in mitigating climate change.

No-tillage farming: Also known as zero tillage or direct drilling) is an agricultural technique for growing crops or pasture without disturbing the soil through tillage. No-till farming decreases the amount of soil erosion tillage causes in certain soils, especially in sandy and dry soils on sloping terrain.

Ocean acidification: The ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans, caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Seawater is slightly basic, and ocean acidification involves a shift towards pH-neutral conditions rather than a transition to acidic conditions.

Ocean alkalinization: A type of enhanced weathering, involves adding alkaline minerals, such as olivine, to the ocean surface to increase CO2 uptake and counteract ocean acidification.

Oceanic carbon sequestration: The process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere, is achieved through various chemical and biological processes. Plankton at the ocean surface use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into sugars in the same way trees and land plants do on land.

Olivine: incorporates only minor amounts of elements other than oxygen (O), silicon (Si), magnesium (Mg) and iron (Fe). Manganese (Mn) and nickel (Ni) commonly are the additional elements present in highest concentrations.

Photosynthesis: the process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. Photosynthesis in plants generally involves the green pigment chlorophyll and generates oxygen as a byproduct.

Phytoplankton: the autotrophic (self-feeding) components of the plankton community and a key part of oceans, seas and freshwater basin ecosystems.

Plankton: The small and microscopic organisms drifting or floating in the sea or fresh water, consisting chiefly of diatoms, protozoans, small crustaceans, and the eggs and larval stages of larger animals. Many animals are adapted to feed on plankton.

Reforestation: The act of planting tree seeds or young trees in an area where there used to be a forest it can also mean planting native trees into a forest that has decreasing numbers of trees.

Saturation point: The stage at which no more of a substance can be absorbed into a vapor or dissolved into a solution. The stage beyond which no more of something can be absorbed or accepted.

Sustainable development goals (SDGs): A collection of 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030, are part of UN Resolution 70/1, the 2030 Agenda.

Terrestrial biomass: Grasses, trees and shrubs. These have a much higher biomass than the animals that consume them, such as deer, zebras and insects. … In a temperate grassland, grasses and other plants are the primary producers at the bottom of the pyramid.

Terrestrial enhanced weathering: This refers to the spreading of crushed silicate minerals on the land surface. A geoengineering approach that use the dissolution of natural or artificially created minerals to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is a process of speeding up natural weathering that can include spreading pulverized rock, such as basalt or olivine, on agricultural land, fields and beaches. This strategy exploits a natural process wherein reactive materials like peridotite or basaltic lava chemically bond with CO2, forming solid carbonate minerals such as limestone that can store CO2 for millions of years. The reactive materials can be combined with CO2-bearing fluid at carbon capture stations, or the fluid can be pumped into reactive rock formations where they naturally occur for permanent sequestration.

Regenerative farming/regenerative agriculture: A system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services.

Soil management: The application of operations, practices, and treatments to protect soil and enhance its performance (such as soil fertility or soil mechanics).

Soil carbon sequestration: A process in which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil carbon pool. This process is mediated by plants through photosynthesis.

Soil carbon (pool): A carbon sink related to the global carbon cycle, playing a role in biogeochemistry, climate change mitigation, and constructing global climate models.

Silica: a hard, unreactive, colorless compound which occurs as the mineral quartz and as a principal constituent of sandstone and other rocks.

Soil pH: A measure of the acidity or basicity of a soil. In soils, it is measured in a slurry of soil mixed with water, and normally falls between 3 and 10, with 7 being neutral.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC): An international environmental treaty negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It entered into force on 21 March 1994 and today it has near-universal membership.

Weathering: Rocks and soil become weathered by reacting with CO2 in the air or in acid rain, which naturally occurs when CO2 in the air dissolves in rainwater. The rocks break down, creating bicarbonate, a carbon sink, which is eventually carried into the ocean where it is stored.