Iceland Current Affairs

Scientists in Iceland turn CO2 into rock to combat climate change

In a unique experiment, scientists from Iceland have discovered a new way to trap the greenhouse gas (GHG) carbon dioxide (CO2) deep underground by changing it into rock.

The new way was discovered as by Scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and other institutions as part of a pilot program called CarbFix project.

The pilot program was launched in 2012 at the Hellisheidi power plant- the world’s largest geothermal facility in Iceland.

Key Facts

  • In the CarbFix project, scientists pumped CO2 and water, 540 metre underground into volcanic rock at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant.
  • In this method, CO2 is dissolved with water (termed as carbonation) is pumped into volcanic rocks called basalts.
  • Later, the CO2 solidifies turning into a solid mineral (calcite), which can then be stored. In the research it was found that 95% of the gas was captured and converted in two years.

Significance

This technique the speedy carbonation has potential to combat climate change and may provide a safer, faster way to sequester CO2 and limit global warming. In future, it could be a viable way to store CO2 underground permanently and without risk of leakage.

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Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson named as new PM of Iceland

Iceland ruling coalition Government has named Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson (53) as the new Prime Minister after igmundur Gunnlaugsson had stepped down .

Prior to this, he was Agriculture and Fisheries Minister (since 2013) and deputy leader of the Progressive Party of the Ireland.

Earlier from May 2013 to December 2014 he also had served as Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources.

Background

  • Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson’s appointment comes after Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson had stepped down as PM in the wake of the leaked Panama Papers.
  • The leaks of Panama Papers from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, a law firm specialises in setting up offshore companies showed Gunnlaugsson owned an offshore firm with his wife.
  • Gunnlaugsson was the first casualty after the explosive leaks of confidential documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca surfaced.
  • The leak had disclosed up to 11 million documents revealing how the rich and powerful people across the world hide their wealth, potentially to evade taxes.

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