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Iceland Journal | Days 7 & 8

'The Most Positive Conversation I've Had On Climate Change...'

Carbfix Research Centre

After an emotional roller coaster, I was incredibly keen to get back on the road and move to our next location. The subject of our film may be on climate change, but our intention is not to pump out more devastating examples to leave you feeling guilty and depressed. On the contrary, the reason I wanted to come to Iceland specifically was because of a company called ‘Carbfix’. I had been reading about their work for the last few years and finally I now had an opportunity to meet an expert. Our timing of this trip was perfect. Kári Helgason, Project Manager at Carbfix came from Hellshedi Geothermal Power Station to meet with us.

Carbon storage is a relatively new concept, but basically it involves taking carbon dioxide, disolving it in water and pumping it in 1 to 2km underground where it naturally binds with the heavy metals in Basalt rock. The potential of this is massive, as Kári explains, ‘there is enough basalt rock in Iceland to store the entire worlds carbon emisions’. This process is already been utilised and tested at the Geothermal power plant here. Not only that, but in future years as this technology is scaled up, we may be able to capture and transport carbon from other countries and even use similar technology to capture emmisions from aviation or other industries which we are all so dependant on.

Sarah Roberts standing in front of Carbfix HQ

 

Carbfix are also working with a Swiss team, Climeworks, who are even going a step further to explore carbon capture direct from the atmosphere. As climate change is caused by an excessive amount of carbon dioxide and green house gases in the atmosphere, this is incredibly promising!

Kári is careful not to sell this as the answer and stresses that we must utilise all technology, techniques (e.g. tree planting) and change our consumer habits as well if we are to have a hope of reducing climate change and saving these majestic glaciers. However, just knowing that the technology is out there, is enough to fill me with something that is hard to come by in these times... hope.

On our last day of the trip, we were lucky enough to join a whale watching tour and an aura borealis cruise with Elding Cruises out of Reykjavik. We were slightly less lucky on our sightings though. Despite our best efforts we did not see whales or the northern lights, but that is just one more reason to return to the country.

 

Sarah Roberts Looking Out to Sea

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Naturalist and Author Sarah Roberts, is a specialist in shark and grizzly bear behaviour. Sarah's work has taken her to some of the wildest ecosystems in the world, from tropical reefs to temperate rainforests. Admittedly she is most attracted to the species with sharp teeth and claws, though this sometimes comes at a cost. Sarah loves living off the beaten track, but in realising just how threatened her favourite wild places and species are, she set up an outreach platform (www.thisiscreature.com) in 2014 to help raise awareness and educate people on environmental issues.

She now splits her time between documenting lesser-known wildlife stories in the field and communicating them through her children's book, youtube channel and public talks. In her spare time, Sarah loves to swim and hike (especially with her best pal, Badger the dog) or to practice her very limited skills in surfing/skateboarding.

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