What Plant Removes the Most CO2 From the Air?

What with us being screwed with global warming and all, I kind of figured that it’d make sense if we found out what plants removed the most CO[sub]2[/sub] from the air and planted as many of them as we could. (Screw biodiversity!) I’m guessing that someone’s figured this out and knows what plants they are. Anyone have an answer?

I nominate phytoplankton:


I don’t have the answer you are looking for but this link(first item) projects a total destruction of global rainforests within 40 years.

While the statistics given may not be 100% accurate they are surely a guide. We are going to have to do an awful lot of planting to compensate for this loss.

The amount of CO2 grabbed by a plant is pretty much indicated by the mass of the plant. The answer to the OP’s question is thus likely to be the plant that grows the most mass per acre per year.

But you need to think long-term. Once a plant dies it tends to decay, which returns its carbon to the atmosphere. So long-term terrestrial change requires some combination of increasing biomass and long-term preservation of plant products (build lots of long-lasting wooden buildings?).

There are houseplants which are supposed to absorb other things in the air besides CO2- the peace lily is often cited as a good air purifying plant.

Keep in mind that plants also push CO2 back into the environment when the respirate. During the day they primary do photosynthesis with a little respiration, during the night they respirate and do no photosynthesis.

Exactly. It’s not fast-growing plants per se, but those that are going to lock up the carbon for a long period. You want fast growing trees, which are going to lock the carbon up in wood, rather than algae or herbs, which will decay quickly and release the carbon right away. And you want trees whose wood will be converted to houses or furniture, not those that will be used for paper pulp, firewood, or light construction.

True, what you need to look at is net carbon fixation, and carbon fixation as wood rather than other products.

You could grow stony corals, and then the carbon would remain fixated as calcium carbonate after death.