I know we hear lots of goofy-sounding ideas about the whole climate domain, and on the surface the idea of “negative emission whales” sounds like a spoof from the Babylon Bee, but in fact I know one of the co-authors of this piece (Alex Trembath), and he is a sober and serious human being (though also a bit on the thin side, so not much carbon sequestration help from him), and the idea has backup.
Read the whole thing, but here is the opening:
Whales are big. Like all biomass, their bodies sequester carbon from the biosphere. So it seems like if we had more whales in the oceans, they could capture a decent amount of carbon emissions just by existing and living their lives. A team of economists at the International Monetary Fund recently set out to quantify that amount, and they came up with an impressive figure.
According to the analysis, between the carbon in dead whale bodies and the boosted ocean life productivity created by their waste, whales could cumulatively sequester 1.7 billion tons of CO2 every year if their populations returned to pre-whaling levels — roughly 5% of global emissions.
The article goes on to review a lot of caveats that may well render this idea something of small pile of whale excrement—though that would still be a measurable pile. Who knew that a killer whale might be a killer app for climate change?