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Biochar Offered as Climate Change Reduction Tool

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Fledermaus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-22-08 11:32 PM
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Biochar Offered as Climate Change Reduction Tool
ATHENS, Georgia, December 17, 2008 (ENS) - Former inhabitants of the Amazon Basin enriched their fields with charcoal and transformed some of the Earth's most infertile soils into some of the most productive. They disappeared 500 years ago, but their soil is still rich in organic matter and nutrients.

Now, scientists, environmental groups and policymakers forging the next world climate agreement see the charred organic material that they have dubbed "biochar" as a tool for replenishing soils and as a tool for combating global warming.

Christoph Steiner, a University of Georgia-Athens research scientist in the Faculty of Engineering, was a contributor to the biochar proposal submitted by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification at a side event held last week at the UN climate change conference meeting in Poland. The new climate change agreement will replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

"The potential of biochar lies in its ability to sequester - capture and store - huge amounts of carbon while also displacing fossil fuel energy, effectively doubling its carbon impact," said Steiner, a soil scientist whose research in the Amazon Basin originally focused on the use of biochar as a soil amendment.

At UGA's Biorefinery and Carbon Cycling Program, he now investigates the global potential of biochar to sequester carbon. Steiner also serves as a consultant to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, UNCCD, a treaty parallel to the climate change convention.

In Poland, the secretariat of the desertification convention proposed that biochar management be included in the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism as a way for industrialized countries to earn certified emissions reduction credits towards meeting their greenhouse gas limits. The CDM already includes afforestation and reforestation.
Biochar is applied to land in Indonesia. (Photo courtesy biochar.org)

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2008/2008-12-17-01.a...
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