Climate Change Mitigation
There is a carbon imbalance. This imbalance is seen as the most influential factor in the great Climate Change that we are beginning to experience. Biochar, when adopted on a large scale, will be able to help correct the carbon imbalance. There are other benefits too, including food security, water efficiency, and environmental clean up. That is why biochar is such an attractive tool in Climate Change mitigation; it can effectively sequester carbon while also providing multiple other benefits.
Plants use the Sun’s energy to transform atmospheric carbon into the complex carbon molecules that form their bodies. When exposed to high temperatures that plant material begins to combust and releases energy, the energy can be used by us. When allowed to combust fully in presence of oxygen, most all the carbon is reduced to gases, resulting in an end product of ash. When combustion takes place in a oxygen limited environment, a significant portion of the carbon can remain as char, or in this case, biochar.
Biochar is an extremely recalcitrant form of carbon that can resist decay for thousands of years. The plant material, in its original form, would have been subject to biological decay and thus most all the carbon it contains would re-enter the atmosphere in a period of months to years. That same plant material, in it’s thermo-chemically altered form of biochar, can last for several thousand years in soil.
This can be considered energy positive carbon sequestration. The fact that biochar is such a valuable tool in agricultural production and land management helps to separate it from other methods of carbon sequestration. It is possible that once fully adopted, biochar as a tool for carbon sequestration can achieve significant success on it’s own two legs – it can be both ecologically sustainable and economically sustainable.
On a personal note. Globally and collectively, we have the knowledge, the tools and luxury capital to save our species from an imminent suffering of our own creation. The generations living today have the honor to decide, whether by action or inaction, what our planets climate will be like for the next generations to come.