Carbon capture whales
This article originally featured in The Skylark’s newsletter and was written as a condensed news in brief.
Over their 60 year lifespan, a single whale can absorb over 33 tonnes of CO2 before sinking to the bottom of the ocean when it dies. This compares to an average tree, absorbing approximately 1.2 tonnes of CO2 over the same period.
Furthermore, whales encourage the growth of phytoplankton which feed off the nitrogen and iron rich whale faeces. These organisms not only absorb 40% of all human produced CO2 but generate 50% of the oxygen in our atmosphere.
If whale populations could return to their pre-whaling numbers (4-5 million compared to 1.5 million today), then over 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2 would be captured each year.