News

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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Sheffield researchers awarded £4.7m for major new greenhouse gas removal demonstration project

May 28, 2021

A team of scientists, led by Professor David Beerling FRS at the University of Sheffield, have been awarded £4.7m to develop a large multi-partner research project looking at the scientific, economic and social acceptability of using rock dust in agriculture to capture greenhouse gases.

Dr Jonathan Scurlock, Chief Adviser, Renewable Energy and Climate Change at the National Farmers’ Union, said: The NFU believes that UK research on enhanced rock weathering for greenhouse gas removal addresses important applied research and policy needs, underpinning some of the national ‘net zero’ land-use decisions that will be made in the near future.  Demonstrating that enhanced rock weathering and agriculture creates a major carbon sink would be important for the delivery of our NFU net-zero ambition.

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World-first carbon sequestration trial launches in Wales

May 27, 2021

A first of its kind carbon sequestration trial has been unveiled in Carmarthenshire today. More than 25,000 new trees will be planted on 28 acres of land, with the trial aiming to accelerate and enhance the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through reforestation.

Running in partnership with scientists from Switzerland, the University of Sheffield, the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London and The Royal Botanic Gardens, the project will combine two nature-based climate solutions never previously deployed together at scale: forest microbiome inoculation and the deployment of enhanced rock weathering.

Talking about the potential benefits of applying basalt to soil, Professor David Beerling said: “Our recent research revealed that applying basalt to croplands could absorb up to two billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. This exciting new partnership with The Carbon Community enables us to understand basalt addition in a reforestation project, including the potential carbon sequestration when co-deployed with forest microbiome restoration.”

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Soil microbe transplant could improve tree growth and remove more CO2

May 27, 2021

The soil equivalent of a faecal microbiome transplant and the effect of sprinkling rock dust are to both be tested at scale in tree-planting schemes to see if they can turbocharge the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere.

In the past few weeks, UK charity The Carbon Community has planted 25,000 trees across 11.5 hectares of former farmland in Carmarthenshire, Wales. This forest will host a trailblazing experiment to see if and how the two approaches can accelerate carbon sequestration.

The first involved taking soil microbes and mycorrhizal fungi from a nearby established forest and using them to kickstart the saplings’ growth, which has the potential to increase the amount of carbon that will be locked up in the trees’ stems and the soil.

The second experiment is intended to speed up the natural rate at which rocks absorb carbon from the air, by taking basalt rock dust from a quarry around 30 kilometres away and adding it to soil during the planting, a process known as enhanced weathering.

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Landmark carbon study led by new charity, The Carbon Community

May 27, 2021

We’re excited to share this landmark field trial in Wales which aims to uncover a new reforestation approach involving co-deployment with enhanced rock weathering to accelerate carbon sequestration in trees and soil to tackle the climate crisis.

The study is designed and run in partnership with leading scientists from ETH Zürich Crowther Lab; Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation at the University of Sheffield; The Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London; and The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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Enhanced mineral weathering in agriculture to capture greenhouse gases

May 26, 2021

A team, led by Professor David Beerling at the University of Sheffield, is coordinating a large multi-partner research project to assess the feasibility of using enhanced mineral weathering to capture greenhouse gases and enhance UK food and soil security.  IOM3 is a partner of the Expert Advisory Group.

Beerling says, “I’m delighted that UKRI have funded our greenhouse gas removal demonstrator project investigating all aspects of enhanced weathering, from science to society. This promising approach may have the advantage of simultaneously delivering co-benefits for UK crop production and soil health. We look forward to building our understanding of the role it may play in helping the UK Government reach net-zero by 2050.”

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UK invests over £30m in large-scale greenhouse gas removal

May 25, 2021

Professor David Beerling will lead a new £4.7M UK collaborative Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrator which aims to assist the UK in getting to net-zero by 2050, utilising agriculture and crushed rocks via three large scale field trials and targeted public engagement research.

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