State of the Planet

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Photo Essay: Iceland at the Cutting Edge of Climate Change

Panorama by Martin Stute, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. CLICK FOR LARGER SIZE
Carbon injection site, Hellisheidi geothermal power plant. Courtesy Martin Stute. CLICK FOR LARGER SIZE

Iceland has a complicated relationship with climate change. As in much of the far north, global warming is already exerting many effects here–arguably both good and bad. Yet the country contributes relatively little to the warming, since most of its energy comes from geothermal and hydro plants, which produce little carbon dioxide. Now, it is on the scientific cutting edge of the issue. With the aid of scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the University of Iceland  and other institutions, its main geothermal plant is running the CarbFix project, which traps CO2 emissions and pumps them back underground, to be turned into stone. The new technology may help not just Iceland but other countries to cut CO2 emissions.

All photos: Kevin Krajick unless otherwise credited.

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Tom Foster Edinburgh Landscape Photographer
9 years ago

Oh Iceland is such an amazing place in terms of renewable energy. The geothermal energies the Icelandic people have is surely going to be a massive boon in the years to come when fossil fuel prices inevitably will go up.

I also wanted to say that I found it incredibly interesting that Icelandic houses in Reykjavik get cold AND hot water pumped to their houses (rather than just cold and relying on domestic boilers). There are huge tanks of hot water across the city (such as at Perlan) and this is then pumped directly to the city. Very efficient, means heating and hot water is cheap and you never run out!