Seaweed could help in climate fight


Seaweed, special rocks and turning carbon pollution into fibres for manufacturing could help the world combat climate change.

Climate Council co-founder Tim Flannery says there's potential in coming decades to draw up to four billion tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere with new technologies that are at immature stages now.

Professor Flannery pointed to reports scientists had worked out how to make carbon fibres from Co2 in the atmosphere at a tenth of the cost of conventional production methods.

Carbon fibres are used in aircraft and bicycle manufacturing.

"It's one technology that's going to help," he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

Prof Flannery said the mineral olivine, which comes from deep within the earth's mantle, was a good storer of carbon dioxide.

"If you crush up olivine... and lay it on a beach it will just quietly absorb Co2 out of the atmosphere and store it safely," he said.

To suck up one gigatonne of carbon, five gigatonnes of olivine was needed.

Prof Flannery said there was a Dutch roofing company that wanted to put olivine in roof paint.

Seaweed also had untapped potential.

Prof Flannery referred to a study that estimated if seaweed was raised over nine per cent of the ocean's surface it would draw down the equivalent of all emissions.

Despite the potential of technological advances Prof Flannery is not confident the world will be able to cut back its use of fossil fuels fast enough to keep climate change within a two degree increase.