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Enhanced Rock Weathering – a negative emission technology that might actually work

EASAC has been skeptical about the role of some negative emission technologies (NET) after its 2018 review. In particular, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) - based on the existing flawed forest biomass subsidy model that bears little relation to whether or not CO2 is actually removed from the atmosphere - is subject to creative accounting.

Absorbing CO2 while resulting in higher crop yields

So it is only fair to draw attention to more positive news that suggests that Enhanced Rock Weathering (ERW) research is showing promise. ERW accelerates natural weathering that absorbs carbon dioxide and also results in significantly higher first-year crop yields, improved soil pH, and higher nutrient uptake, according to a recent paper.

ERW involves spreading finely crushed silicate rock such as basalt on agricultural land. It is a scalable and permanent climate technology with the potential to sequester gigatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


Focus on science rather than greenwashing

EASAC Environment Director, Professor Michael Norton: "ERW also has the advantage of being a very accessible technology. It thus avoids the risk of being captured by monopoly providers, as is the case with the large power stations seeking to persuade governments to allocate billions of subsidies to a technology that only they can provide. To ensure that public subsidies deliver on their objectives to reduce levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, political leaders should focus on science rather than on greenwashing."

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