Last month, the non-profit Carbon Drawdown Initiative published a blog post featuring pictures of 11 projects across the world where researchers were spreading basaltic rock dust onto farm fields. This technique is known as enhanced weathering, and the post shows an upward trend in popularity.
According to the post, the projects photographed cumulatively spread 50,000 tons of rock dust onto farm fields last year, with another 500,000 planned for this year.
These pilot programs are conducted by a growing number of organizations that believe vast amounts of co2 can be sequestered from the atmosphere by applying basaltic rock dust to working croplands while also improving agricultural yields.
If that’s true, it will represent an affordable carbon removal method with significant co-benefits.
But how can scientists tell that co2 drawdown occurs after the rock dust is applied to the fields? What techniques and experiments will confirm that this process is ready to be scaled up?
On this episode the science panel looks at two recent pieces of ERW news that shed light on the state of ERW measurement-
In December, a group of researchers from the UK published the results of their 14-month study in which basaltic rock dust was spread over soil cores for 14 months. The study found limited CO2 removal compared to their models.
At the end of last year, Puro.earth, one of the largest vendors of carbon removal credits, added a framework to certify ERW credits to be sold on their platform. Previously ERW-based credits have never been available on a large scale in the carbon markets. Even Puro acknowledges "general scientific consensus on best practice … does not yet exist", but they've taken the first stab at connecting ERW with carbon funding streams.
Joining Radhika to discuss the scientific challenges of measuring the CDR potential of enhanced weathering is our regular science panel Dr. Shannon Valley and Dr. Jane Zelikova.
On This Episode
Carbon Drawdown Initiative blog post
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