Australian Opposition Promoting Biochar  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

The SMH has a report on Malcolm Turnbull's proposals to make use of biochar to mitigate carbon emissions - Coalition pins its great green hope on carbon trio.

THE COALITION'S "green carbon initiative" is a three-pronged policy that aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making buildings more energy efficient, having faith in clean coal and burying greenhouse pollution with a process known as biochar.

Geosequestration - the burying of greenhouse pollution underground or beneath the ocean floor - remains the great technological hope for solving climate change even though its adoption does not appear to be any time soon.

Biochar, about which researchers are optimistic, is a new hope in climate science. Biochar refers to small pellets of charcoal produced when plant waste, such as wood chips, are heated in a process called pyrolysis.

When added to the soil, the pellets help boost fertility, retain moisture better, and efficiently store carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists believe biochar is stable enough to hold gases for at least 100 years, a finding that has been eagerly seized on by politicians desperate to find a technology that will mop up greenhouse gas emissions.

The Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, argues that Australia's large land mass could be its greenhouse saviour, citing research that finds a small increase in the amount of carbon stored in soil could absorb all of the nation's annual emissions.

Research projects, including one by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, are encouraging, but scientists are concerned that the technique has not yet been properly investigated.

Dr Evelyn Krull, of CSIRO Land and Water, says one of the main areas that needs further study is how different types of soil react to the addition of biochar. "From a scientist's point of view I would be hesitant to say let's apply it to all soils, because we haven't done proper studies on it," she said.

"There's no doubt [biochar] will have multiple benefits but we would like to make sure that we have advised the public best about what is safe."


The UN recognizes Soil as a Carbon Sink;
UNCCD Submission to Climate Change/UNFCCC AWG-LCA 5
"Account carbon contained in soils and the importance of biochar (charcoal) in replenishing soil carbon pools, restoring soil fertility and enhancing the sequestration of CO2."

This new Congressional Research Service report (by analyst Kelsi Bracmort) is the best short summary I have seen so far - both technical and policy oriented. .

Given the current "Crisis" atmosphere concerning energy, soil sustainability, food vs. Biofuels, and Climate Change what other subject addresses them all?

This is a Nano technology for the soil that represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.

Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.

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