News

Pop-Up University: Solving Earth’s climate emergency by farming with rocks!

Sep 15, 2021

Join Amy Lewis and researchers from the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation, based in the Faculty of Science for a series of live experiments showing how rock dissolution (weathering) can help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Rock dissolution occurs naturally when rocks interact with water and this is important to help slow climate change.

Meet the researchers who are working to speed up rock weathering – see live experiments and view rocks under the microscope.

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Can rock dust be a climate fix for agriculture?

Sep 2, 2021

Scientists are dusting crop fields with pulverized rocks to supercharge the chemical process that grabs carbon from the air and sequesters it in the soil. All while increasing crop yields.

Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation director, David Beerling, who is five years into a decade-long effort to investigate enhanced weathering on croplands, published a paper in Nature that demonstrated the potential of the method. He and colleagues found that if China, India, and the United States applied rock dust to all of their agricultural lands, 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide could be removed from the atmosphere.

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How Adding Rock Dust to Soil Can Help Get Carbon into the Ground

Sep 2, 2021

Researchers are finding that when pulverized rock is applied to agricultural fields, the soil pulls far more carbon from the air and crop yields increase. More studies are underway, but some scientists say this method shows significant benefits for farmers and the climate.

Leverhulme Centre director David Beerling, who is five years into a decade-long effort to investigate enhanced weathering on croplands, published a paper last year in Nature that demonstrated the potential of the method. He and colleagues found that if China, India, and the United States applied rock dust to all of their agricultural lands, 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide could be removed from the atmosphere.

The research results so far are significant enough that the IPCC mentioned enhanced weathering in its most recent report, listing the method of spreading ground-up rocks on soils as a way to capture more carbon and stimulate cropland productivity.

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Power to the people

Sep 1, 2021

Dr. Emily Cox, an expert on public perceptions of CO2-removal technologies, suggests that to meet our decarbonisation goals, CO2 removal technologies are needed at scale. Targets are no longer enough – we need significant financial support, as well as mechanisms that can systematically build trust and dialogue across all parts of society.

An incredible community is working to meet the challenge and, despite the pandemic, we have an extremely strong public mandate for climate action in the UK. That said, Emily is concerned because the UK is currently falling far short of its own targets. Featured in Geoscientist: the magazine of the Geological Society of London.

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Geological solutions for carbon dioxide removal

Sep 1, 2021

To meet targets set in the Paris Agreement, we must stop emissions and actively strip carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Professor Rachael James , Dr. Christina Larkin and colleagues discuss two geological techniques – enhanced rock weathering and carbon mineralisation – that show promise for CO2 removal. Featured in Geoscientist: the magazine of the Geological Society of London.

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BBC Radio Four ’39 Ways to Save the Planet’ – Magical Rockdust

Aug 25, 2021

Discover how sprinkling rockdust on farm fields could help capture more carbon reported by the BBC Radio Four series ’39 Ways to Save the Planet’ featuring LC3M partner Rachael James, Professor of Geochemistry within the School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, based at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton.

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Jurassic era CO2 claim belongs with the dinosaurs

Jul 1, 2021

THE STATEMENT
A Facebook user claims atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were 30 times higher during the Jurassic Period than at present, going on to suggest current levels of the greenhouse gas are lower than ever.

THE VERDICT
CO2 levels in the atmosphere during the Jurassic Period were not 30 times higher than at present, as the Facebook post claims, and current CO2 levels are not at an all-time low.

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How battered rainforests recover

Jun 28, 2021

Former forest areas can regenerate with the help of soil bacteria. Even in poor soil, the microbes apparently provide enough nutrients to stimulate plant growth again.

All over the world, an abundance of leguminous tree species grows in tropical forests…but how do legumes manage to obtain the necessary minerals?

In search of microorganisms that release mineral nutrients, scientists led by Dimitar Z. Epihov, University of Sheffield, and Sarah A. Batterman, University of Leeds, analyzed the DNA isolated from soil samples. As reported in the Proceedings of the American National Academy of Sciences, microbes that are able to free phosphorus from its binding to oxidized iron populate the root space of legumes in remarkably large numbers.

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LC3M Students discuss climate goals with the public at HUG festival

Jun 26, 2021

LC3M PhD Students, Derek Bell and Daniel Evans presented and answered questions from the public at the HUG Green Arts Festival held in Leek, Staffordshire on 26th June 2021. The festival hosted a variety of fun family based activities and booths meant to attract the public to the beauty of the Peak National Park and connect around climate change. An educational seminar was held by members of the University of Sheffield and the University of Nottingham, which included:
  • The UK’s energy requirements and the challenges associated with adopting renewables (Associate Professor Robin Irons, Univ. Nottingham)
  • CO2 capture and enzyme mediated methanol generation (Jennifer Hancock)
  • Enhanced rock weathering’s potential for carbon sequestration in the UK (Derek Bell)
  • Nitrogen fluctuation on grasses following basaltic rock and biochar amendments (Dan Evans)
The seminar also held a “question time” where the public had some thoughtful insights, which in some cases led to good natured debate.
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Green Sand Beaches Could Erase Carbon Emissions

Jun 20, 2021

Project Vesta wants to make sandy beaches greener — literally. By spreading a unique green sand over a Caribbean beach, the San Francisco non-profit hopes to pull tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and lock it away for eons. Once placed on the beach, the green sand sequesters carbon all on its own.

The whole carbon removal field is really undergoing an incredible transformation. Almost five years ago, it was quite niche. Now, people are realizing that it’s actually a core component of climate action. We’re not going to meet our climate goals unless we have carbon removal technologies.” Professor David Beerling comments.

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