Biochar could provide a new weapon in the war against greenhouse gases
By The Climate Trust staff
A revolutionary new tool will soon be available to help reduce the world’s carbon dioxide emissions by sequestering carbon in soil in the long term.
This first-of-its-kind methodology enables emission reductions from biochar in the U.S. and was developed jointly by The Climate Trust in partnership with the International Biochar Initiative, Prasino Group, and Carbon Consulting.
In addition to holding great promise as a mitigation option for reducing the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, when biochar is combined with such nutrient rich material as compost, it also has the potential to enhance soil productivity. By using biochar in their fields, farmers can increase agricultural production and long-term soil fertility while reducing the use of costly inputs such as fertilizers and water, and without increasing cropped area.
Biochar is a form of charcoal made by heating biomass (farm, forest waste and other organic material) in limited oxygen (called “pyrolysis”). When added to compost and soil, this porous material has the ability to prevent vital nutrients from washing away by increasing soil nutrient and water storage capacity, and hence soil fertility.
In addition, the carbon is contained within the structure of the biochar for the long-term, rather than being released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
Biochar is said to be carbon negative when made from sustainably harvested biomass residues, meaning, excess materials. It is believed to remain in the soil for long periods, even centuries.
That’s why some experts refer to it as “coal mining in reverse,” the opposite of what happens when fossil fuel is burned.
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