Day 5: Can minerals help us to deal with climate change? 🏭
The world is facing a critical challenge. Since the industrial revolution, we have relied on burning millions of tonnes of coal, gas, and oil to power our cities and vehicles. We live in the civilization of fossil fuels! While this has led to unprecedented levels of prosperity, reduced hunger, and increased life expectancy, it has also resulted in an unwelcome consequence: the release of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is dramatically altering the climate of our planet. Since the advent of the steam engine in the 18th century, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have risen from 280 ppm to over 420 ppm, causing significant climate impacts that society is still struggling to comprehend.
Having recognized the gravity of the problem, we have been actively seeking solutions for decades. One of such solutions was extensively discussed in an exceptional session at the Goldschmidt 2023 conference titled “7d – Recent advances and outlook in carbon capture, utilization, storage, and atmospheric removal.” During this session, I had the privilege of listening to talks on the potential removal of CO2 through mineral storage. Over the past few decades, we have emitted enormous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, disturbing the delicate balance of the carbon cycle. What better way to restore equilibrium than by storing carbon back in minerals and rocks? The session delved into topics such as identifying minerals suitable for “carbonation” to store CO2, addressing challenges associated with each mineral, understanding the role of amorphous and metastable phases in ensuring the stability of these CO2 sinks, and exploring the feasibility of utilizing industrial byproducts for this purpose.
As the conference concludes, we have witnessed five days of exceptional scientific research, presentations, and engaging activities. I hope that by sharing highlights from many of the talks, seminars, and events, we have contributed in our own small way. Looking ahead, we look forward for the next destination in the New World: Chicago 2024!