How cool is this? Accelerated geologic weathering by creating rocks from carbon dioxide

Geologic weathering is an important, but slow, part of the carbon cycle in which rocks essentially absorb carbon dioxide. A research team in Iceland has invented a method of creating rocks using carbon dioxide, water, and basalt rock. A chemical reaction among them enables the basalt to absorb the carbon dioxide. A Washington Post article describes the research and its implications, which are told in detail in a new paper in Science.

This definitely qualifies for the “how cool is this” club, and illustrates clearly how creativity, research, and innovation will expand our options for grappling with greenhouse gas emissions.


One thought on “How cool is this? Accelerated geologic weathering by creating rocks from carbon dioxide

  1. A waste of everybody’s time and energy. We should be glad that humanity is restocking the atmosphere with life giving CO2.

    “Greenpeace co-founder pens treatise on the positive effects of CO2 – says there is no crisis” by Anthony Watts • June 20, 2016

    “All life is carbon based and the primary source of this carbon is the CO2 in the global atmosphere. As recently as 18,000 years ago, at the height of the most recent major glaciation, CO2 dipped to its lowest level in recorded history at 180 ppm, low enough to stunt plant growth. This is only 30 ppm above a level that would result in the death of plants due to CO2 starvation.

    “It is calculated that if the decline in CO2 levels were to continue at the same rate as it has over the past 140 million years, life on Earth would begin to die as soon as two million years from now and would slowly perish almost entirely as carbon continued to be lost to the deep ocean sediments. The combustion of fossil fuels for energy to power human civilization has reversed the downward trend in CO2 and promises to bring it back to levels that are likely to foster a considerable increase in the growth rate and biomass of plants, including food crops and trees. Human emissions of CO2 have restored a balance to the global carbon cycle, thereby ensuring the long-term continuation of life on Earth.

    * * *

    “There is no question that the climate has warmed during the past 300 years since the peak of the Little Ice Age. There is also no question that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and all else being equal, the emissions would result in some warming if CO2 rose to higher levels in the atmosphere. Yet, there is no definitive scientific proof that CO2 is a major factor in influencing climate in the real world. The Earth’s climate is a chaotic, non-linear, multivariant system with many unpredictable feedbacks, both positive and negative. Primarily, this is a discussion about the role of atmospheric CO2 in the maintenance of life on Earth and the positive role of human civilization in preventing CO2 from trending downward to levels that threaten the very existence of life.

    * * *

    “some pressing questions regarding the outcome if humans had not intervened in the carbon cycle.

    • What evidence or argument is there that the global climate would not revert to another glacial period in keeping with the Milankovitch cycles as it has done repeatedly during at least the past 800,000 years?
    • What evidence is there that we are not already past the maximum global temperature during this Holocene interglacial period? • How can we be certain that in the absence of human emissions the next cooling period would not be more severe than the recent Little Ice Age?
    • Given that the optimum CO2 level for plant growth is above 1,000 ppm and that CO2 has been above that level for most of the history of life, what sense does it make to call for a reduction in the level of CO2 in the absence of evidence of catastrophic climate change?
    • Is there any plausible scenario, in the absence of human emissions, that would end the gradual depletion of CO2 in the atmosphere until it reaches the starvation level for plants, hence for life on earth?

    * * *

    Dr. Patrick Moore is a Senior Fellow with the Energy, Ecology and Prosperity program at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He has been a leader in the international environmental field for over 40 years. Dr. Moore is a Co-Founder of Greenpeace and served for nine years as President of Greenpeace Canada and seven years as a Director of Greenpeace International. Following his time with Greenpeace, Dr. Moore joined the Forest Alliance of BC where he worked for ten years to develop the Principles of Sustainable Forestry, which have now been adopted by much of the industry. In 2013, he published Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout – The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist, which documents his 15 years with Greenpeace and outlines his vision for a sustainable future.

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