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Best practice for biochar

Olive Heffernanz

Source:  Copyright 2009, Nature
Date:  June 3, 2009
Byline:  Olive Heffernan
Original URL: Status ONLINE

With just six months left to go, all sectors are vying for a place at the table in Copenhagen, where negotiators will begin sketching what should eventually become an all-embracing climate deal. While some players are seeking assistance in adapting to the impacts of climate change (page 68), others are hoping to stake a claim in the emerging green economy (page 72).

The prospects of the latter are bright for those involved in the nascent biochar industry, which plans to sequester vast quantities of carbon in soil using an ancient Amazonian agricultural practice and to sell the latent emissions as credits on a global carbon market.

The concept is simple: if terra preta -- or charcoal-enriched soil -- was re-created globally, as much as 6 billion tonnes of CO2 could be prevented from entering the atmosphere annually, a substantial fraction of the 8--10 billion tonnes emitted each year by humans. Proponents, who include no small number of world-class climate ...

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