Climate clippings 175

1. New technology offers hope for storing carbon dioxide in basalt

Carbon dioxide (CO₂) has been converted to rock and stored underground in a trial in Iceland.

    Most CO₂ sequestration projects inject and store “supercritical CO₂”, which is CO₂ gas that has been compressed under pressure to considerably decrease its volume*. However, supercritical CO₂ is buoyant, like a gas, and this approach has thus proved controversial due to the possibility of leaks from the storage reservoir upwards into groundwater and eventually back to the atmosphere.

To put it briefly, in the trial they dissolved CO₂ in water which then is acidic and attacks the rocks to form solid carbonate minerals. You need a lot of basalt rocks and a lot of water. As it happens the entire vast ocean floor is made up of kilometre-thick oceanic basaltic crust, as are large areas on the continental margins. Enough to sequester all the CO₂ we’d like to get rid of.

they found that 95% of the CO₂ converted to carbonate minerals in two years. You don’t need to monitor it and it won’t escape. The only problem is cost.

My other problem is that I like to keep things that may be useful in the future! Also I’m not sure what that does to the ocean ecology.

2. Did climate change cause the recent wild east coast storm?

Acacia Pepler takes a look.

‘East coast lows’ are “not uncommon, with about seven to eight lows a year causing widespread rainfall along the east coast, particularly during late autumn and winter.” Because the dominant lows have moved further south, east coast lows decrease in frequency in most climate models.

    East Coast Lows are expected to become less frequent during the cool months May-October, which is when they currently happen most often.

    But there is no clear picture of what will happen during the warm season.

Whether the ones we get are more severe is also uncertain. For every degree we can expect 7% more rainfall on average.

Sea level has of course risen a bit, and will rise more, making the effects more damaging.

3. Los Angeles to go green and clean

Los Angeles, the second largest city in the US, looks set to adopt a 100% renewable target. Currently it gets 60% of its power from fossil fuels.

The suggestion is that cities can move more easily than states or countries. Some 228 cities representing 436 million people have set targets that would reduce emissions by 13 gigatons of CO2 by 2050 as part of the C40 international coalition.

4. Bloomberg forecast peak coal and gas

Climate Progress reports on a new Bloomberg report.

There will be no ‘golden age of gas’, coal and gas will begin their terminal decline in less than a decade, renewables will pass coal as the main power source, zero-emission energy sources will make up 60% of installed capacity by 2040.

Joe Romm says this is stunning, focussing on the plummeting price of solar and increasing efficiency of wind.

Really stunning is what he leaves out. Go to Bloomberg’s report on the report.

India’s emissions will more than treble by 2040, SE Asia’s also continue to rise. Clean energy investment will fall $5.4 trillion short of what’s required to keep warming under two degrees.

6 thoughts on “Climate clippings 175”

  1. That carbonic acid eating into sea-bed basalt sounds really good but horribly expensive and, worse yet, difficult to control. Still, lateral thinking has produced highly effective, dirt-cheap solutions to insoluble problems in the past: (the use of specific antibiotics to cure most stomach ulcers in a few days is one example that comes to mind)

  2. Brian: An important source of natural CO2 sequestration comes from the weathering of rocks and the conversion of these weathered rocks to carbonates by reaction with CO2.
    You don’t have to go to the sea shore to find plentiful deposits of basalt an other rocks that react with CO2.

  3. John, yes, in really long term future scenarios rocks take so much CO2 out of the air that photosynthesis fails. That’s many millions of years away and humans will probably be long gone, but it’s one reason why I’d like to put the CO2 where it can be retrieved.

    There must be a reason they want to go deep sea. I imagine the pressure would hold the liquid there do it doesn’t escape.

  4. You might be right about deep sea Brian. The high pressure and low temperature would give much much higher CO2 solubility.
    When talking about the very long term keep in mind that CO2 is released as sea floor is subducted.

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