Climate Action

Could Rock Dust Help Solve Climate Change?

Basalt could be a new climate solution.

An article in the scientific journal ‘Nature’ has claimed that spreading rock dust, particularly basalt, on farmland could help to significantly reduce the amount of CO2 released into our atmosphere.

Also known as Enhanced Rock Weathering (ERW) , as the rock degrades the chemical reactions lock the CO2 gas in the air into carbonates.  The journal estimates that if half of farmland was treated in this way as routine, the equivalent of the combined annual carbon emissions of Japan and Germany (2 billion tonnes) could be removed from the atmosphere.

As basalt is one of the most commonly found rock materials across the globe, dust is regularly produced through mining and therefore could be in ready supply.  It is thought the substance could be the best option for ERW as its properties include calcium and magnesium, which trap CO2 effectively.

Posted by Claire Edwards 9 July 2020

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