What happens to carbon dioxide after we emit it? Half is absorbed within a year or two by plants and the oceans, the rest, in effect, stays in the atmosphere. So, does that mean we have to halve emissions to stop concentrations rising? Unfortunately, no.
Despite the vast reserves of carbon dissolved in the oceans, carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels does not get diluted away, but makes an indelible mark on climate for hundreds of thousands of years.
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A lecture by Myles Allen recorded on 7 March 2023 at Barnard's Inn Hall, London.
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website: https://www.gresham.ac.uk/watch-now/carbon-zero
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