Archive for Iceland

Iceland will not get the new constitution this term – No agreement in parliament

It will be allowed to change the constitution next term, and if those changes pass in a referendum they will take effect, without new parliamentary elections being held.

via Iceland will not get the new constitution this term – No agreement in parliament.


Putsch: Iceland‘s Crowd-Sourced Constitution Killed by Parliament

Up against the wall, with throngs of protesters boisterously banging their pots and pans in parliament square in Reykjavík, the post-crash government formed in 2009, to its credit, set the process in motion.

via Putsch: Iceland‘s Crowd-Sourced Constitution Killed by Parliament.

Best Party – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Best Party (Icelandic: Besti flokkurinn) is an Icelandic political party. The party ran in the 2010 city council election in Reykjavík and won a plurality on the Reykjavík City Council, receiving 34.7% of the vote, defeating the Independence Party which received 33.6%.[1][2][3]

The founder and chairman of the party is the incumbent Mayor of Reykjavík Jón Gnarr.[4] As the party was founded several months after the last Icelandic parliamentary election, it has not yet had the opportunity to compete on the national level. The party’s initial success is seen as a backlash against establishment parties in the wake of Iceland’s 2008-2011 financial crisis.[5]



The Best Party was founded in late 2009 by Jón Gnarr, an Icelandic actor, comedian and writer. Originally a joke party, it has from the beginning admitted that it will not honour any of its promises given before elections.[6] It claims all other parties are secretly corrupt, so it promises to be openly corrupt. Among its original goals was to satirize common themes in Icelandic politics, partly by mimicking the standard phrases, idioms and jargon used by Icelandic politicians.

However, since its electoral success in Reykjavík in 2010 the Best Party has become much more serious and has shown a genuine interest in governing. It has taken a left-wing stance on many issues. Although Jón identifies himself as an anarchist, the party as a whole is closer to the centre-left.[7]

Since its founding, the Best Party has developed into a full-grown political party with its own independent agenda, which has yet to be identified to an English-speaking audience. The theme song of Besti Flokkurinn is “Simply The Best” by Tina Turner. Prior to the 2010 election, the party published a new version of the song with new, Iceland-specific lyrics. A music video was also made, featuring Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir.[6]

Besti Flokkurinn’s Platform

  1. To help the households in the country: Family is the best thing in society. Governments need to meet the needs and demands of households. An ironclad shield wall needs to be raised around the households in this country. Icelandic households deserve only the best.
  2. To improve the quality of life of the Less Fortunate: We want the best of everything for this bunch and therefore offer free access to buses and swimming pools so you can travel around Reykjavik and be clean even if you’re poor or there’s something wrong with you.
  3. Stop corruption: We promise to stop corruption. We’ll accomplish this by participating in it openly.
  4. Equality: Everyone deserves the best regardless of who they are and where they come from. We will do our best for everyone so that everyone can be together on the best team.
  5. Increase transparency: It is best to have everything aboveboard so that the general public knows what is going on. We say we support that.
  6. Effective democracy: Democracy is pretty good, but an effective democracy is best. That’s why we want it.
  7. Cancel all debts: We listen to the nation and do as it wishes because the nation knows what’s best for itself.
  8. Free bus rides for students and cripples: We can offer more free things than any other party because we aren’t going to follow through with it. We could say whatever we want. For example, free flights for women or free cars for people who live in rural areas. It’s all the same.
  9. Free dental services for children and handicapped people: This is something that is lacking, and we definitely want to take part in promising it.
  10. Free access to swimming pools for everyone and free towels: This is something that everyone should fall for, and it’s the election promise we’re most proud of.
  11. Take those responsible for the economic collapse to court: Felt we had to include this.
  12. Complete equality of the sexes
  13. Listen more to women and old people: This bunch gets listened to far too little. It’s as if everyone thinks they are just complaining or something. We’re going to change that.[8][9][10]

Election 2010

The party’s first endeavor in politics was to present a list of candidates for the local election in Reykjavík in 2010. Its platform included free towels in all city swimming pools, a polar bear for the city zoo, a Disneyland at Vatnsmýri, the capital’s airport and a drug-free Althing by 2020. The party won six of the 15 seats on the Reykjavík City Council.[3] and governs the city alongside the Social Democratic Alliance as the senior coalition partner.

See also


  1. ^ “Besti flokkurinn stærstur í Reykjavík”. Morgunblaðið. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  2. ^ “Kosningavefur Dómsmálaráðuneytisins”. Icelandic Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  3. ^ a b “Best Party wins polls in Iceland’s Reykjavik”. BBC. 30 May 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  4. ^ “Kosningavefur Dómsmálaráðuneytisins”. Icelandic Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  5. ^ “Satiric political party wins council poll in Iceland”, Indo-Asian News Service, May 30, 2010. (accessed 24 January 2012)
  6. ^ a b Birrell, Ian (24 June 2011). “A joker’s party is serious about saving Iceland from meltdown”. The Guardian Weekly: p. 3.
  7. ^ “Icelander’s Campaign Is a Joke, Until He’s Elected”. New York Times. 25 June 2010.
  8. ^ Best Party Strategy (Icelandic)
  9. ^ Buchan, Peter John R., translator. 2010. “Platform: The Best and Brightest,” Harper’s Magazine, August: 20.
  10. ^ “Icelandic Politics – Just a Bad Joke?”. Raving Ravens. Retrieved 2010-05-30.

External links

via Best Party – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Iceland’s President Explains Why The World Needs To Rethink Its Addiction To Finance – Business Insider

Here’s the full transcript of our interview with Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who has been President of Iceland since 1996, and announced last month he would be running for a fifth term. Keep reading to hear his thoughts on Iceland’s recovery, and how a large financial sector can ruin a nation.

How has life in Iceland changed since the meltdown?

read via Iceland’s President Explains Why The World Needs To Rethink Its Addiction To Finance – Business Insider.

Icelandic Parliament investigating Full Reserve Banking »Positive Money

Is Iceland – the wonderful island with just 300 thousand citizens – going to be the first country seriously questioning the privatized money creation and considering Full Reserve Banking proposals? It seems that it might well be the case…

A motion has recently been put forward in the Althing – the Icelandic Parliament – calling for the forming of a committee to report on the benefits/costs of full reserves banking. The motion reads:


“Althing concludes that the minister of finance will form a committee of specialists to research how the separation of money creation and loan function of the banking system can be achieved by limiting banks’ ability to create new deposits through lending.”


Deadlines for submission was December 4th.


Ben Dyson made a submission on behalf of Positive Money to the Icelandic parliament in favour of the establishment of a committee to assess the need for reform. It reads:



Proposal No. 262 proposes the establishment of a committee to consider how in the current banking system  the function of money creation can be separated from the function of lending.


Such a separation would end the situation where most of Iceland’s money supply is created and allocated by the same private banks that were implicated in the financial crisis.


We feel that it would be a serious oversight to ignore this issue in light of one of the worst  financial crises in history, particularly given its effect on Iceland at the time of the crisis.  However, the issue is not simply one of preventing future financial crises. The current  system of privatized money creation also has impacts for debt, poverty, inequality, the  business environment, and economic growth. Reforming money creation would have significant economic and social advantages.


Positive Money has also offered to provide to any established Committee highly-detailed step-by-step reform proposals, an assessment of risks etc.  to show that alternatives are feasible.


You can read the whole submission here.


There were 12 submissions made, 9 of them positive letters (in English), 1 submission was slightly negative and 2 rather negative (from The Central Bank and the Icelandic Financial Services Association, which considered it ‘pointless’ to investigate the issue further (surprise surprise).

All the recommendations can be seen here.


The full (unofficial) translation of the motion is below:


Althing concludes that the minister of finance will form a committee of specialists to research how the separation of money creation and loan function of the banking system can be achieved by removing banks’ ability to create new deposits through lending. The committee shall complete its work by January 1st 2013 and the minister deliver a report to Althingi about the conclusions of the committee no later than one month after the committee completes its work.




It is the opinion of the person introducing the proposal that adequate steps have not been taken to prevent another banking crisis in Iceland. It is important to take action to promote financial stability, in order to prevent further financial catastrophe such as the banking crisis in 2008.


The current monetary system’s deposit may create the equivalent of money by lending of excess deposits. In fact, most of the money used in general transactions are electronic deposits which private banks have created with excess deposits. Money creation and bank lending must be separated by changing laws and only allow the Icelandic Central Bank to create money, whether the money is made of paper, metal or electronic form.


With this amendment net interest income (interest income on loans in excess of interest expenditure on deposits) will be transferred by a large extent to the Central Bank, but banks have until now profitted received this profit. The separation will give the Central Bank more control over the money supply and prevent banks from creating asset bubbles with their lending activity.


It is important to see the pros and cons of such an arrangement in this country to prevent another crisis. Recent research of specialists working with the International Monetary Fund confirms that such separation delivers the benefits which Irving Fisher (1936) stated that they would do, ie to:


  • improve control of the main causes of business cycles which is a sudden increase and decrease in lending and the supply of money that banks create,
  • prevent bank runs,
  • reduce public debt and reduce the indebtedness of individuals, where money creation would no longer need to be based upon borrowings.




If those statements are true it is the assessment of the person introducing the proposal that this is a opportunity for authorities to create great benefits for people with low cost. Therefore, it is important to take action soon and a committee of experts will be formed that review the IMF report, apply the assumptions implied on Icelandic society and assess whether such a path is possible, how best would be to implement this plan and any amendments are necessary in this purpose.


It is proposed that the committee delivers its findings no later than the first January 2013 and the Minister returns a report on the findings no later than one month after the committee finishes its work.

via Positive Money Icelandic Parliament investigating Full Reserve Banking » Positive Money.


Iceland: High Penetration of Renewables in the Modern Era | Renewable Energy News Article

Iceland’s famous for its breathtaking scenery, its geysers, its Blue Lagoon — and for sitting astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Among energy wonks, Iceland is also well known for using its abundant renewable energy, and especially for tapping the volcanic roots of the island in developing its geothermal resources.

read via Iceland: High Penetration of Renewables in the Modern Era | Renewable Energy News Article.

No news from Iceland… why? <<Facebook

No news from Iceland… why?
How come we hear everything that happens in Egypt but no news about what’s happening in Iceland:

In Iceland, the people have made the government resign, the primary banks have been nationalized, it was decided to not pay the debt that these created with Great Britain and Holland due to their bad financial politics and a public assembly has been created to rewrite the constitution.And all of this in a peaceful way.
A whole revolution against the powers that have created the current global crisis. This is why there hasn’t been any publicity during the last two years: What would happen if the rest of the EU citizens took this as an example? What would happen if the US citizens took this as an example.

This is a summary of the facts:

2008. The main bank of the country is nationalized.
The Krona, the currency of Iceland devaluates and the stock market stops.
The country is in bankruptcy

2008. The citizens protest in front of parliament and manage to get new elections that make the resignation of the prime minister and his whole government.
The country is in bad economic situation.
A law proposes paying back the debt to Great Britain and Holland through the payment of 3,500 million euros, which will be paid by the people of Iceland monthly during the next 15 years, with a 5.5% interest.

2010. The people go out in the streets and demand a referendum. In January 2010 the president denies the approval and announces a popular meeting.
In March the referendum and the denial of payment is voted in by 93%. Meanwhile the government has initiated an investigation to bring to justice those responsible for the crisis, and many high level executives and bankers are arrested. The Interpol dictates an order that make all the implicated parties leave the country.

In this crisis an assembly is elected to rewrite a new Constitution which can include the lessons learned from this, and which will substitute the current one (a copy of the Danish Constitution).
25 citizens are chosen, with no political affiliation, out of the 522 candidates. For candidacy all that was needed was to be an adult and have the support of 30 people. The constitutional assembly starts in February of 2011 to present the ‘carta magna’ from the recommendations given by the different assemblies happening throughout the country. It must be approved by the current Parliament and by the one constituted through the next legislative elections.

So in summary of the Icelandic revolution:
-resignation of the whole government
-nationalization of the bank.
-referendum so that the people can decide over the economic decisions.
-incarcerating the responsible parties
-rewriting of the constitution by its people

Have we been informed of this through the media?

Has any political program in radio or TV commented on this?


The Icelandic people have been able to show that there is a way to beat the system and has given a democracy lesson to the world

via Facebook.

Why I’m suing the US government to protect internet freedom | Birgitta Jónsdóttir | Comment is free |

Why I’m suing the US government to protect internet freedom | Birgitta Jónsdóttir | Comment is free |

Isländische Initiative zu modernen Medien – Wikipedia

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Die Isländische Initiative zu modernen Medien (kurz IMMI) ist ein Gesetzespaket in Island, das darauf abzielt, günstige juristische Voraussetzungen für investigativen Journalismus und Pressefreiheit im digitalen Zeitalter zu schaffen und Mediengesetze aus anderen europäischen Staaten und den USA zusammenfassend zum Vorbild nimmt.[1]



Entstehung [Bearbeiten]

Der Zündfunke kam unter anderem von der Enthüllungsplattform WikiLeaks, die auf der Insel durch Enthüllungen zur isländischen Bankenkrise 2009 große Bekanntheit erreichte. Hintergrund war die Erfahrung der Isländer im Umgang ihrer Banken mit WikiLeaks. Wikileaks veröffentlichte geheime Dokumente der Kaupthing Bank, woraufhin die Bank mit Prozessen drohte. Als Folge bildete sich eine neue Öffentlichkeit zugunsten von Whistleblowing und Informationsfreiheit im Internet. Den Isländern blieb in Erinnerung, dass durch die Wikileaks-Veröffentlichung die Misswirtschaft in den isländischen Banken eher noch bekannter wurde. Sie beschäftigten sich intensiv mit den weltweit bestehenden Rechtssystemen zum Schutz der Online-Medien.

Eine Gruppe innerhalb des isländischen Parlaments entwickelte in Zusammenarbeit mit Julian Assange, Kristinn Hrafnsson, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Jacob Appelbaum und anderen Mitarbeitern von WikiLeaks erste Vorschläge, die Anfang 2010 der Öffentlichkeit präsentiert wurden.[2][3][4] Die IMMI wurde von Abgeordneten aus allen Parteien unterstützt, die im isländischen Parlament vertreten waren. 19 von insgesamt 63 Parlamentariern gehörten zu den Erstunterstützern des Vorschlags. Mit der Zustimmung des Parlaments im Juni 2010 konnte folglich mit der Umsetzung dieser Vorschläge in Gesetze begonnen werden.[5][6]

Im April 2011 wurde das erste von insgesamt dreizehn Mediengesetzen verabschiedet. Es ist geplant, das Gesetzespaket bis Mitte 2012 fertigzustellen, wobei Richtlinien der Europäischen Union beachtet werden müssen, da sich Island seit Juli 2010 in Beitrittsverhandlungen befindet.[1][7] Das Europäische Parlament äußerte sich in diesem Zusammenhang positiv über die neue Mediengesetzgebung.[8]

Inhalt [Bearbeiten]

Verabschiedet werden soll eine neue Medienordnung, die investigativen Online-Journalismus besonders schützt. Der IMMI-Vorschlag umfasst mehrere Ideen:

Zunächst soll ein weitgehender Schutz von Whistleblowing-Handlungen eingeführt werden,[1] sofern diese im öffentlichen Interesse wichtige Informationen veröffentlichen. Journalistische Quellen sollen auch vor gerichtlichem Zugriff geschützt werden; hier weicht das derzeitige isländische Recht zentral von Vorgaben insbesondere der europäischen Menschenrechtskonvention ab. Die Kommunikation zwischen Journalisten und ihren Quellen sowie die interne Kommunikation in den Redaktionen werden künftig in Island stärker geschützt. Das isländische Gesetz über die Vorratsdatenspeicherung steht dieser Intention jedoch noch entgegen. Vorbilder für die kommende isländische Gesetzgebung sind hier der False Claims Act und der Military Whistleblower Protection Act aus dem United States Code der Vereinigten Staaten.[7]

Geschützt werden sollen Journalisten ebenfalls vor dem Libel Tourism, das heißt insbesondere vor Versuchen, mit hohem Kostenaufwand verbundene Verleumdungsprozesse vor restriktiven, etwa britischen Gerichten geltend zu machen.[7] Entsprechende Entscheidungen aus Großbritannien sollen nicht mehr durchgesetzt werden, sofern sie den isländischen verfassungsrechtlichen Schutz für die Meinungsfreiheit verletzen.

Geändert werden sollen auch die Regeln für die Haftung von Internetserviceprovidern, insbesondere was die Immunität für Access– und Host Provider angeht; künftig sollen Provider als reine Datentransporteure Schutz vor Klagen von Rechteinhabern genießen.[7]

Kritisch wird die Rechtsprechung des Europäischen Gerichtshofs für Menschenrechte gesehen. Die Kritiker werfen dem Gerichtshof vor, eine „überaltete” Rechtsprechung zu Online-Archiven zu rechtfertigen. Hiernach soll es britischen Gerichten erlaubt sein, auch noch nach Jahren die Veröffentlichung von Materialien in Online-Archiven zu verbieten; ein archivierter Artikel gilt dort bei Aufruf durch den Internet-User als neu publiziert.

In Anlehnung an die sogenannte Anti-SLAPP-Gesetzgebung in Kalifornien sind prozedurale Schutzmechanismen gegen einstweilige Verfügungen vorgesehen, die als eine Unterminierung der Meinungsfreiheit angesehen werden. Demnach soll es Klägern verboten werden, durch einstweilige Verfügungen die Publikation kritischer Artikel zu verhindern.[7]

Literatur [Bearbeiten]

Weblinks [Bearbeiten]

Einzelnachweise [Bearbeiten]

  1. a b c Zeit online am 3. Mai 2011: Islands Datenfreihafen als Modell für Europa. Abgerufen am 10. Mai 2011.
  2. Marcel Rosenbach, Holger Stark: Staatsfeind WikiLeaks. Wie eine Gruppe von Netzaktivisten die mächtigsten Nationen der Welt herausfordert. S.114–116. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, München 2011, ISBN 9783421045188.
  3. am 9. Dezember 2010: Steuert dieser Isländer den Cyberkrieg? Abgerufen am 2. Januar 2011.
  4. vom 13. November 2010: Wikileaks gründet Unternehmen in Island. Abgerufen am 2. Januar 2011.
  5. BBC News vom 12. Februar 2010: Wikileaks and Iceland MPs propose ‘journalism haven’ (engl.). Abgerufen am 1. Januar 2011.
  6. On The Media vom 19. Februar 2010: All Journalists Go To Heaven. Interview mit Julian Assange (engl.). Abgerufen am 1. Januar 2011.
  7. a b c d e am 29. April 2011: EUMMI: Was die EU von Island lernen kann. Abgerufen am 10. Mai 2011.
  8. Entschließung des Europäischen Parlaments vom 7. April 2011 zu dem Fortschrittsbericht 2010 über Island; Abschnitt „Politische Kriterien“. Abgerufen am 27. Mai 2011.

via Isländische Initiative zu modernen Medien – Wikipedia.

VORRATSDATENSPEICHERUNG Farewell Privacy Demo am 31. März WIEN ››Anonymous Austria





Durch das Inkrafttreten der Vorratsdatenspeicherung mit 1. April 2012 haben wir jetzt zum ersten Mal die Möglichkeit, das Gesetz zu kippen:

Die verdachtsunabhängige Speicherung sämtlicher Kommunikationsdaten aller Menschen in Österreich stellt einen schweren Grundrechtseingriff dar.

Gegen diesen Eingriff beschweren wir uns gemeinsam beim Verfassungsgerichtshof

und Du bist dabei!

Eine Zusammenfassung findest du Hier

Austrian Activists Push Back Against EU Data Retention Directive

AK Vorrat Socializing 2. April 2012 19:00 – KLICK HIER

TWITTER Diskussion über #VDS HIER verfolgen

FOLLOW @akvorrat

Twitter PICS von der Farewell Demo HIER

Twitter VIDEOS von der Farewell Demo HIER

THX TO iceland 4THE SPEECH* we stay united* ❤ VORRATSDATEN Farewell Privacy Demo WIEN

READ Twitterview auf Storify: HIER

Read the rest of this entry »

Former Icelandic prime minister says trial will vindicate him ››

Trial begins of Geir Haarde, the first politician in the world to face charges over 2008 financial crisis, Monday 5 March 2012 18.30 GMT

The former prime minister of Iceland has become the first politician in the world to stand trial over the 2008 financial crisis.

Geir Haarde, who was ousted after Iceland’s three biggest banks collapsed and the country’s economy went into meltdown, could be jailed for two years if found guilty of gross negligence in failing to prepare for the impending disaster. He denied the charges and claimed that “only in hindsight is it evident that not everything was as it should have been”.

Haarde was instrumental in transforming Iceland from a fishing and whaling backwater into an international financial powerhouse before the credit crunch caused the economy to crash almost overnight.

The Icelandic parliament’s “truth report” into the causes of the crisis that forced the country to borrow $10bn (£6.3bn) to prop up its economy, accused him of “gross negligence”. He is also accused of failing to rein in the country’s fast-growing banks, whose paper value before the crash had ballooned to 10 times the gross domestic product of the island state of 320,000 people. And he is alleged to have withheld information that indicated the state was headed for financial disaster.

The country’s three biggest banks – Glitnir, Kaupthing and Landsbanki – went bust within weeks of each other after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the US sparked the credit crunch in 2008.

“None of us realised at the time that there was something fishy within the banking system itself, as now appears to have been the case,” Haarde told the court in the capital of Reykjavik on Monday. “I think it’s illogical to think that I or anyone else in the government could have reduced the size of the banks to a greater extent than was done at the time.”

He is accused of failing to prevent the contagion from spreading to the UK by not insisting that Icelandic banks ringfence their overseas operations. The crisis sparked a diplomatic row with the UK as the demise of Landsbanki brought down its British internet banking arm, Icesave, leaving British councils, universities and hospitals more than £1bn out of pocket.

Gordon Brown, who was British prime minister at the time of the collapse, accused Haarde of “unacceptable” and illegal” behaviour over its failure to guarantee to reimburse UK customers of the bank. The British government stepped in to protect most savers, at a cost of £3.2bn but it is continuing to demand compensation from Iceland to cover the cost.

The crisis also led to the demise of Baugur, the British retail investor which owned stakes in House of Fraser, Debenhams and Woolworths.

Haarde, who led the right-leaning Independence party and was prime minister from 2006 to 2009, rejected all the charges as “political persecution” from the country’s left-leaning government, and said he would be vindicated by the trial. He said Icelanders’ interests were his “guiding light” and insisted that his conscience was clear.

The trial is expected to last until mid-March, with the court taking another four to six weeks to deliver its verdict.

Haarde has become the first person to ever stand trial at the country’s Landsdómur criminal court, which was created in 1905 to hear charges brought against ministers. He was one of four former Icelandic ministers blamed by the “truth report” for causing the crisis, but parliament voted last year that he should be the only person to stand trial.

The others named in the report were the former finance minister Árni Mathiesen and former minister of commerce Björgvin Sigurdsson, and Davíd Oddsson, a former prime minister who was running the country’s central bank at the time.

via Former Icelandic prime minister says trial will vindicate him | World news |

New Storage Projects Turns CO2 into Stone ››Scientific American

Iceland is experimenting with pumping carbon dioxide underground and converting it into rock

 | March 5, 2012 

In a new experiment, Iceland is looking to replace its smokestacks with well injectors to permanently sequester its carbon dioxide emissions.

Researchers are now pumping CO2 underground in a process that will convert the greenhouse gas into rock. This technique may be a model for other power plants and factories to control their emissions, creating a climate change solution literally set in stone.

“Carbon dioxide capture and storage is important because we depend on fossil fuels, and we will depend on fossil fuels for the next 50 to 100 years,” said Juerg Matter, a professor of geochemistry at Columbia University.

“This is bad news for global climate change, especially greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In terms of climate change, we have to decarbonize our energy infrastructure,” he added.

The CarbFix pilot program aims to resolve this problem by capturing carbon dioxide from the Hellisheiði Power Station, Iceland’s largest geothermal heat and energy facility and the second-largest in the world.

The 300-megawatt plant taps heat and gas pockets up to 1.2 miles below the surface to drive seven turbines. In the process, Hellisheiði releases steam, which makes up roughly 99.5 percent of its emissions. The rest is mostly carbon dioxide, along with small amounts of hydrogen sulfide, argon and methane.

Matter, who works with the program, said CarbFix is the first system that injects carbon dioxide into basalt, a form of volcanic rock. “The capacity of these rocks, the storage capacity, could be very large,” he said.

Going from acid to rock
Waste carbon dioxide is first separated from steam and then dissolved in water, forming carbonic acid. The solution is then pumped 550 yards underground into a basalt formation, where the acidity leaches elements like calcium and magnesium from the surrounding rocks. Over time, the solution flows through the basalt formation and these elements recombine to form minerals like limestone.

Iceland makes an ideal test site because the ground beneath the island nation is 90 percent basalt, which is formed by volcanic activity. The country also generates most of its electricity from geothermal sources.

However, CarbFix is not without its challenges. The project’s current phase injects carbon dioxide from a nearby geothermal well instead of the generation plant. Though the project started in 2007, the team only started injecting the well in January and will begin to inject from the geothermal plant itself in April.

“We assumed that the main difficult part of the experiment would be injecting the gas. Instead, we are delayed by the gas separation stage,” explained Edda Aradóttir, the project manager for CarbFix. “It has turned out to be a much more complex task than we thought.”

Separation anxiety
The hydrogen sulfide proved very troublesome because it corroded the hardware and formed compounds that hampered the processing equipment when it was separated from the steam. The current phase injects only carbon dioxide, while the next phase will also inject hydrogen sulfide into the basalt.

Other issues included developing new instruments and techniques to monitor rock formations deep underground, said Aradóttir. The team also had to engineer a system to transport the carbon dioxide from the sources to the injection well.

The whole process is also resource-intensive, requiring large amounts of water and electricity. The carbon dioxide may also take anywhere from a few months to a few years to be converted fully to stone. “This kind of experiment is very expensive,” admitted Aradóttir. “We’re not at the commercial stage yet.”

Still, the idea has immense potential. Basalt formations are found in many parts of the world, and the CarbFix site can store billions of tons of carbon dioxide, Matter said. Unlike other forms of carbon storage, waste gases can be converted to stone at relatively shallow depths, the leakage risk is minimal and the results are permanent.

In addition, CarbFix is already showing results. Matter observed that the acidic solution is being neutralized underground, indicating that the rock-forming reaction is taking place. “If it’s mineralized within a human lifetime, then we know we are on a successful pathway,” he said. As the technology improves and the costs come down, Matter thinks sequestering carbon dioxide in basalt could become a viable strategy for controlling greenhouse gas emissions.

Proof of permanent storage could ease some of carbon capture’s commercial problems. One of them is obtaining insurance coverage, because insurers are concerned about the long-term financial risks of storing carbon dioxide in a gaseous or liquid form underground, which include the possibility of leakage.

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC., 202-628-6500

via New Storage Projects Turns CO2 into Stone: Scientific American.

Geir Haarde, Iceland’s Ex-PM, The First World Leader To Face Criminal Charges Over Financial Crisis ››

Geir Haarde Financial Crisis

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Iceland’s former prime minister has rejected charges he failed to adequately protect his country’s economy from financial shocks in the first criminal trial of a world leader over the 2008 financial crisis.

“I reject all accusations, and believe there is no basis for them,” Geir Haarde said as he took the stand on Monday. He said it was the first chance he had to answer questions in the case.

Haarde became a symbol of the bubble economy for Icelanders who lost their jobs and homes after the country’s main commercial banks collapsed in 2008, sending its currency into a nosedive and inflation soaring.

Prosecutors opened the case at the Landsdomur, a special court being convened for the first time in Iceland’s history.

Part of their case hinges on a charge that Haarde failed to implement recommendations a government committee had drawn up in 2006 to strengthen Iceland’s economy.

Haarde told the court that the committee’s work could not have prevented Iceland’s economic crash.

“Nobody predicted that there would be a financial collapse in Iceland” in 2008, he said, adding that the government did not fully understand how much debt the country’s banks had on their books.

Haarde is accused of negligence for failing to prevent the financial implosion from which the small island country is still struggling to recover.

In the crisis’ immediate aftermath – as unemployment and inflation skyrocketed – many sought to affix blame for the havoc across the 330,000-strong nation. A wave of public protests forced Haarde out of government in 2009.

Haarde has pleaded not guilty and sought to have all charges dismissed, calling the proceedings “preposterous.”

He has insisted Icelanders’ interests were his “guiding light,” and blamed the banks for the crisis, saying government officials and regulatory authorities tried their best to prevent the crisis and that his “conscience is clear.”

The trial is expected to last until mid-March, with the court taking another four to six weeks to deliver its verdict.

via Geir Haarde, Iceland’s Ex-PM, The First World Leader To Face Criminal Charges Over Financial Crisis.

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