. The Role of Seaweed in Mitigating Climate Change

Robyn Walters, of the newly formed Climate Champions group, writes this introduction for their topic of the month, written by David Sonenberg, The Role of Seaweed in Mitigating Climate Change.

"Thanks to our enterprising tutor, Hannah Len, the Climate Change U3APP Class has created a follow-on group called Climate Champions.  We connect to continue investigating, sharing ideas and being proactive about Climate awareness. Hannah stimulated us to educate ourselves about topics we had not known about before such as:-

  • Carbon Capture
  • Green Hydrogen
  • Climate aware farming practices
  • Activities in our area
  • The role of clouds
  • The usefulness of kelp.

When we gather, there are lots of questions raised. Maybe you'll have some too."

The Role of Seaweed in Mitigating Climate Change


Seaweed and moo noos (Cattle)

Did you know – methane emissions from livestock make up about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Did you know – that a cow produces on average as much gas emissions as one car.

Did you know – that CSIRO in Australia claims that methane stays in the atmosphere for about nine years, a far shorter period than carbon dioxide, however methane's global warming potential is “86 times higher than carbon dioxide when averaged over 20 years….”.

Did you know – the CSIRO has developed a seaweed product that reduces greenhouse gases produced by cattle and has won a $1M international prize for doing so.

Did you know – that this seaweed product slashes the amount of greenhouse gases cattle ‘burp’ and ‘fart’ (mainly burping) into the atmosphere.

It is claimed that when this product is added to cattle feed, the product, which contains Australian “super seaweed” Asparagopsis, virtually eliminates methane from the animals bodily emissions. Also it is claimed that the potential for the product to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas footprint, if commercialised, was massive.

Watch this space for developments in the cattle industry.

Some other seaweed benefits

We are all familiar with the role forests play when it comes to providing a sustainable source of food, energy and raw materials, and locking away CO2 emissions. But perhaps we are less knowledgeable about the potential of forests of seaweed growing in the oceans.

Did you know – seaweed plays a crucial role in the ocean’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases and is grown around the world.

Did you know – seaweed is better at absorbing CO2 than trees are.

Did you know – seaweed is considered a high valued source of protein for humans and livestock.

A type of seaweed known as kelp, is being developed for its nutritional value and its ability to absorb and knock away huge quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2). Seaweed, in the oceans, helps to de-acidify the water and absorb CO2 more effectively than trees. It also improves water quality by extracting harmful nutrients such as nitrogen from the sea.

Seaweed / Kelp - what’s the difference?

Seaweed is a plant growing in the sea, especially marine algae; unlike land plants, it does not have roots, stems, leaves and flowers; and may be green, brown or red; it grows on the seashore, in salt-marshes, in brackish water or submerged in the ocean.

Kelp is any large, brown, cold water seaweed of the family Laminariaceae, used as a food and in various manufacturing processes, a bed or mass of such seaweeds.

David Sonenberg, Climate Champion

Artwork - Colin Sheppard, local artist - instagram @doitbabyfactory