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US Congressional Hearing
Dr. K.C. Das (University of Georgia) testifies in Congressional Hearing May 21, 2009: Dr. KC Das was invited as witness before the US House Committee on Small Business; Hearing on the impacts of outstanding regulatory policy on small biofuels producers and family farmers including biochar carbon sequestration.
Dr. Johannes Lehmann testify at he US House of Representatives June 18, 2009: The hearing, entitled "Global Warming’s Growing Concerns: Impacts on
Agriculture and Forestry”
Dr. Lehmann provided scientific information
about biochar carbon sequestration for sustainable climate change
mitigation and global soil enhancement.
Biochar project wins major funding for protection of rain forests in Congo
A biochar project to protect tropical rainforests has been selected by the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF). The project will help solve the hunger pandemic in Central Africa by tackling one of its root causes – rapidly declining soil fertility – , it will slow down deforestation and the destruction of biodiversity, and it solves the household energy crisis amongst the poor. Moreover, the reduction in the rate of deforestation, sustainable soil fertility management, a more efficient fuel (fire wood) use and the establishment of a stable carbon sink all contribute to mitigating climate change.
Over the next two years, the partners will implement the project in the region of Pimu, which consists of a group of around 10 villages at the tropical forest frontier in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Equateur Province.
To rename charcoal as biochar is criticized by both authors, but the current debate justifies the name biochar. Biochar should be distinguished from charcoal, which is produced to be used as a fuel. Those images are presented by Biofuelwatch. Neither charcoal produced for the industry nor charcoal produced in Virunga National Park (threatening the last Mountain Gorillas) will establish a carbon sink. Carbonizing biomass which would otherwise decompose or would be burned and its use as soil amendment, this is biochar. Carbonizing rainforest will not create a carbon sink. The carbon trade and biochar carbon sequestration could enable farmers to invest into long-term soil fertility and reduce deforestation. The utilization of waste biomass would actually mitigate those concerns associated with bio-fuel production.
Biochar considered for carbon sequestration by the UNFCCC
biochar proposal submitted to COP-14 in Poland (UN
Climate Change Conference) by the UNCCD was accepted by the UNFCCC for the
dialogue for the post 2012 climate regime. This is an important step towards UN
certified emissions reductions (CER) and clean development mechanism (CDM) projects.
Mr. Goodspeed Kopolo (senior officer of the UNCCD) took the
initiative and called attention to biochar carbon sequestration. From December
2007 to December 2008 important events and conference submissions were
organized by the UNCCD.
As multibillion-dollar projects intended to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) in deep geologic storage continue to seek financial support, the fertile black soils in the Amazon basin suggest a cheaper, lower-tech route toward the same destination.
"Interestingly, between 500 and 2,500 years ago Amerindian opulations added incompletely burnt biomass to the soil. Today, Amazonian Dark Earths still retain high amounts of organic carbon and fertility in stark contrast to the low fertility of adjacent soils.
There is a global production potential of 594 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in biochar per year, simply by using waste materials such as forest and milling residues, rice husks, groundnut shells, and urban waste. Far more could be generated by planting and converting trees. Initial analyses suggest that it could be quite economical to plant vegetation for biochar on idle and degraded lands, though not on more highly productive lands.
Most crops respond with improved yields for biochar additions of up to 183 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and can tolerate more without declining productivity. Advocates calculate that if biochar additions were applied
at this rate on just 10 percent of the world’s cropland (about 150 million hectares), this method could store 29 billion tons of CO2-equivalent, offsetting nearly all the emissions from fossil fuel burning."
William I. Woods, Wenceslau G. Teixeira, Johannes Lehmann, Christoph Steiner, Antoinette M. G. A. WinklerPrins, Lilian Rabellato (Editors)
Springer 2009, ISBN: 978-1-4020-9030-1
Amazonian soils are almost universally thought of as extremely
forbidding. However, it is now clear that complex societies with large,
sedentary populations were present for over a millennium before
European contact. Associated with these are tracts of anomalously
fertile, dark soils termed terra preta or dark earths. These
soils are presently an important agricultural resource within Amazonia
and provide a model for developing long-term future sustainability of
food production in tropical environments. The late Dutch soil scientist
Wim Sombroek (1934-2003) was instrumental in bringing the significance
of these soils to the attention of the world over four decades ago.
saw not only the possibilities of improving the lives of small holders
throughout the world with simple carbon based soil technologies, but
was an early proponent of the positive synergies also achieved in
regards to carbon sequestration and global climatic change abatement.
Wim’s vision was to form a multidisciplinary group whose members
maintained the ideal of open collaboration toward the attainment of
shared goals. Always encouraged and often shaped by Wim, this free
association of international scholars termed the Terra Preta Nova
Group came together in 2001 and has flourished. This effort has been
defined by enormous productivity. Wim who is never far from any of our
minds and hearts, would have loved to share the great experience of
seeing the fruits of his vision as demonstrated in this volume.
Its introductory comments and 28 chapters written by 73 authors relate the latest findings in landscape history, indigenous practices, soil development, soil chemistry, anthropology, and archaeology, and the implications of those to modern social and land stewardship issues.
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, May 2007 Special Report: Inspired by Ancient Amazonians, a Plan to Convert Trash into Environmental Treasure.
New bill in U.S. Senate will advocate adoption of "agrichar" mehtod
that could lessen our dependence on fossil fuel and help avert global
on mongabay.com deals about a proposed mechanism for generating carbon-negative
bioenergy. Bioenergy with carbon storage (BECS) holds out the prospect of
reducing CO2 from the atmosphere while producing carbon-negative energy. The
article provides an informative introduction on how "carbon-negativity" is
feasible and assumes geosequestration (developed from the "clean coal"
industry, CO2 capture in depleted oil and gas fields, saline aquifers etc.) as
the sequestering tool. Laurens Rademakers delineates the risks such as
deforestation of tropical rainforests and leakage of geosequestration. In
addition these technologies require vast capital inputs and large scale
substantive difference of bio-energy to fossil-energy allows Charcoal Carbon
For Carbon Emissions, a Goal of Less Than Zero
Article about options to produce carbon negative energy, including biochar
Ancient skills "could reverse global warming"
Trials begin of a technique used by Amazon Indians that takes CO2 and locks it sfely into soil
The biochar concept has meanwhile received formal political support. In order to speed up biochar research the U.S., Colorado's Senator Ken Salazar recently introduced "The Salazar Harvesting Energy Act of 2007" , focused on carbon-negative bioenergy production. The bill (S. 1884) is awaiting discussion in the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.
Biochar carbon sink - implementation in south Sumatra, Indonesia
study of the by Yasuyuki Okimori, Makoto Ogawa and Fumio Takahashi
Environmental Engineering Center Co.
on biomass utilization and forest conservation is proposed as a Clean
Development Mechanism (CDM) project, by incorporating the carbonization of
biomass residue and waste from the tree plantations and pulp mills, and also
non-fuel utilization of charcoal like soil amendment in agriculture and
forestry, water purification, etc. The total amount of carbon acquired by biochar
reaches 18,587 Mg-C year-1 (biochar used for soil improvement).
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 2003, 8: 261-280
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 2006, 11: 429-444
Mainly in southern Germany, Austria and western Czechia, these
stones can be found distributed in the landscape. The stones were used since
the 8th century to collect pitch tar, creosote or
wood vinegar (pyroligneous acid). The process is similar to wood carbonization
and the liquid products were (are) used as lubricant, firebrand, pharmaceuticals
and for sealing (e.g. woody barrels).
byproduct from wood gasification. This movies demonstrate that efficient and
clean burning cooking stoves can produce biochar for horticulture. The
efficiency of cooking stoves is important as fuel wood is becoming a scarce
resource in many areas and open fires cause severe air pollution.