Enhanced Rock Weathering in the Global South: Exploring Potential for Enhanced Agricultural Productivity and Carbon dioxide Drawdown
PxD and IGSD are partnering on an initiative to collaboratively identify opportunities for innovation in climate change mitigation, particularly for the greenhouse gases most problematic in agricultural production, methane and nitrous oxide, as well as carbon dioxide. This initiative includes four analytical pieces on the opportunities for climate change mitigation by smallholder famers, starting with carbon dioxide sequestration through enhanced rock weathering. Enhanced rock, or silicate, weathering (ERW) is a developing technology which leverages natural mineral weathering to draw carbon from the atmosphere.
The analysis found ERW’s potential for permanent carbon drawdown and agricultural co-benefits makes it an attractive mitigation strategy, particularly in equator and near-equator geographies like the Global South, where there are ideal soil pH, temperature, and moisture conditions for the technology. However, because ERW is a new technology that is still being tested and has yet to be studied in Global South contexts, there remain critical uncertainties around its safety, carbon sequestration potential, probable benefits to farmers, and feasibility. All of these factors must be addressed in order to move the technology forward.
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