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Why do we need to remove excess carbon?

Failing to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere over the next 50 years could have significant and potentially devastating consequences for the planet. Here are some potential impacts:
 

  1. Climate Change: Elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere contribute to global warming and climate change. This can lead to more frequent and intense heatwaves, storms, droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events.
     

  2. Sea Level Rise: As temperatures rise, polar ice caps and glaciers melt, causing sea levels to rise. This can result in coastal erosion, loss of land, and increased flooding in coastal areas, threatening millions of people who live near coastlines.
     

  3. Disruption of Ecosystems: Climate change can disrupt ecosystems and biodiversity, leading to shifts in habitats, species extinctions, and loss of biodiversity. This can have cascading effects on ecosystems and the services they provide, such as pollination, water purification, and carbon sequestration.
     

  4. Negative Impacts on Agriculture: Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns can affect agricultural productivity, leading to reduced crop yields, food shortages, and increased food prices. This can exacerbate hunger and malnutrition, particularly in vulnerable regions.
     

  5. Health Risks: Climate change can exacerbate health problems, including heat-related illnesses, respiratory diseases, and the spread of vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever. Vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions, are particularly at risk.
     

  6. Social and Economic Disruption: Climate-related disasters can lead to social and economic disruption, displacement of populations, and increased conflict over resources. This can strain infrastructure, economies, and social systems, leading to instability and insecurity.


Overall, failing to mitigate CO2 emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere could have far-reaching and severe consequences for both human societies and the natural world.

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Why enhanced weathering?


 

  1. Long-Term Carbon Storage: Unlike some other carbon removal methods that involve temporary storage of CO2 in geological formations or biomass, enhanced weathering offers the potential for long-term and permanent carbon storage. The CO2 captured through weathering reactions is converted into stable carbonate minerals, which can remain stored in the soil or oceans for thousands to millions of years.
     

  2. Co-Benefits for Soil Health: Enhanced weathering not only removes CO2 from the atmosphere but also provides co-benefits for soil health and fertility. The weathering of minerals releases essential nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which enrich the soil and promote plant growth. Additionally, the process can help regulate soil pH levels and improve soil structure, water retention, and nutrient availability.
     

  3. Long-Term Carbon Storage: Unlike some other carbon removal methods that involve temporary storage of CO2 in geological formations or biomass, enhanced weathering offers the potential for long-term and permanent carbon storage. The CO2 captured through weathering reactions is converted into stable carbonate minerals, which can remain stored in the soil or oceans for thousands to millions of years.
     

  4. Co-Benefits for Soil Health: Enhanced weathering not only removes CO2 from the atmosphere but also provides co-benefits for soil health and fertility. The weathering of minerals releases essential nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which enrich the soil and promote plant growth. Additionally, the process can help regulate soil pH levels and improve soil structure, water retention, and nutrient availability.
     

  5. Scalability and Cost-Effectiveness: Enhanced weathering is scalable and can be implemented on a large scale to achieve significant CO2 removal. The process can be integrated into existing land management practices, such as agriculture and forestry, making it a cost-effective option for carbon removal compared to some other technologies like direct air capture or carbon capture and storage.
     

  6. Low Environmental Impact: Enhanced weathering is a natural process that occurs over geological timescales and does not involve the use of chemicals or energy-intensive technologies. As a result, it has minimal environmental impact and is considered a sustainable approach to carbon removal.
     

In summary, enhanced weathering stands out as the best method for CO2 removal due to its high negative emission percentage, natural abundance, long-term carbon storage potential, co-benefits for soil health, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and low environmental impact. By harnessing natural geological processes, enhanced weathering offers a promising solution to address the urgent challenge of climate change while promoting soil fertility and ecosystem resilience.

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Enhanced weathering with natural minerals is of interest in the agricultural sector primarily due to its potential to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere while also providing additional benefits to soil health and agricultural productivity. Here's why it's relevant:
 

  1. Carbon Sequestration: Natural minerals, when exposed to atmospheric CO2 and water through weathering processes, undergo chemical reactions that result in the formation of stable carbonates. This effectively locks away atmospheric CO2 in the form of carbonate minerals, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to climate change mitigation efforts.
     

  2. Soil Amendment: The weathering of natural minerals releases essential nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and iron, which can enrich soil fertility and improve plant growth. These nutrients are gradually released into the soil over time, providing long-term benefits to agricultural productivity.
     

  3. pH Regulation: Natural minerals can also help regulate soil pH levels by neutralizing acidity. In acidic soils, the carbonate minerals formed during weathering act as natural buffers, raising soil pH levels and creating a more favorable environment for plant growth.
     

  4. Mineralization: The breakdown of natural minerals into secondary minerals during weathering processes can contribute to soil mineralization, enhancing soil structure and stability. This can improve water retention, nutrient uptake, and overall soil health, leading to better crop yields and resilience to environmental stresses.
     

  5. Long-Term Stability: Unlike some other carbon sequestration methods that may involve the storage of CO2 in geological formations or biomass, enhanced weathering with natural minerals offers the potential for long-term and relatively permanent carbon storage in the soil. Once CO2 is converted into carbonate minerals, it can remain stored in the soil for thousands to millions of years.
     

  6. Cost-Effectiveness: Natural minerals are abundant and widely available, making them potentially cost-effective options for carbon sequestration and soil improvement, especially when compared to other carbon removal technologies such as direct air capture or carbon capture and storage.
     

Overall, enhanced weathering with natural minerals represents a promising approach to carbon sequestration that aligns with sustainable agriculture practices, offering multiple co-benefits for soil health, crop production, and climate change mitigation. However, further research and field trials are needed to fully understand its potential, optimize application methods, and address any potential environmental or logistical challenges.

Why focus on agriculture?

Why reduction of our emissions alone is not enough

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We have received feedback regarding enhanced weathering, expressing concern that widespread implementation of this method might inadvertently signal permission to increase emissions into the atmosphere. It's important to clarify that we don't view enhanced weathering as a standalone solution to completely reverse climate change. While striving for zero emissions is an ideal goal, it's essential to consider the practical challenges of achieving this, especially with a global population projected to reach nearly 11.5 billion within one generation.

There are various approaches to combat climate change, and they should complement each other rather than compete. Every effort to mitigate emissions and reverse their effects contributes positively to the air we breathe.

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Examining the emissions and CO2 levels depicted in the graph below, it's evident that addressing climate change requires a multifaceted approach. Simply focusing on reducing emissions or capturing exhaust fumes isn't sufficient. We must also actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere and safely store it. Enhanced weathering stands out as an effective and proven method, mimicking natural processes that have operated for millions of years. By accelerating these processes, we can efficiently capture and store excess CO2, helping to restore balance to our environment.

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