The Biochar Debate
Charcoal's potential to reverse climate change and build soil fertility

By James Bruges

The Biochar Debate
Paperback, 128 pages £8.00
Published: 5th November 2009
ISBN: 9781900322676
Format: 210mm x 148mm

Category: ENVIRONMENT, ECOLOGY & CLIMATE CHANGE, SCHUMACHER BRIEFINGS

Series: Schumacher Briefings

Charcoal-making is one of the oldest industrial technologies, and there has been a growing wave of excitement about its potential for combating climate change. Burying biochar (fine-grained charcoal) is a highly effective way to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; and in addition it can increase the yield of food crops and moisture retention of soil. The Biochar Debate sets out experimental and scientific aspects of biochar in the context of global warming, the global economy and negotiations of the Kyoto Protocol. It concludes by encouraging all gardeners and farmers to use biochar to help prevent climate change.

Introduction: Charcoal and biochar; A visit to India; The players.
An overall view: Carbon; The atmosphere; The land; Limited resources; Geo-engineering; Downsides; Predictions.
The Amazon civilisation: Dark soil (terra preta).
Biochar and agriculture: Soil; Productivity; Peak oil; Peak phosphorus; Pandemics; Introduction of biochar; Where, and how much?; Permanence in soil; Application.
Pilot schemes: The banana grower; SCAD; Southern France; Carbon Gold in Belize; Ghana; Poultry farm; Cameroon; Microwave; Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).
Science: Photosynthesis; Carbon dioxide; Methane; Nitrous Oxide; Safe level for greenhouse gases; Biochar; Nutrient qualities.
Carbon credits: Cap-and-trade; The global economy; Experience; Europe; Biochar; Twin solutions; CMF: the Carbon Maintenance Fee.
Summary.
Selected bibliography.

There is one way we could save ourselves [from global warming] and that is through the massive burial of charcoal. It would mean farmers turning all their agricultural waste – which contains carbon that plants have spent the summer sequestering –into non-biodegradable charcoal and burying it in the soil ... This scheme would need no subsidy: the farmer would make a profit.

- James Lovelock

James Bruges

James Bruges worked as an architect in London, Sudan and India before setting up an architectural practice with Howard Tozer in Bristol. His books include Sustainability and the Bristol Urban Village Initiative, The Little Earth Book, The Big Earth Book and part of What About China? With his wife, he keeps in touch with and visits Gandhian NGOs in southern India.



Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 128 pages
ISBN: 9781900322676
Format: 210mm x 148mm

BIC Code: KCN, RNC, RNPG
BISAC Code:  BUS099000, SCI020000, SCI092000
Imprint: Green Books


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James Bruges

Books in Series

Schumacher Briefings
The Biochar Debate - Charcoal's potential to reverse climate change and build soil fertility
Bioregional Solutions - For Living on One Planet
Contraction and Convergence - The Global Solution to Climate Change
Converging World - Connecting Communities in Global Change
Creating Sustainable Cities
The Ecology of Health
The Ecology of Money
Ecovillages - New Frontiers for Sustainability
Gaian Democracies - Redefining Globalisation & People-Power
The Natural Step - Towards A Sustainable Society
Rekindling Community - Connecting People, Environment and Spirituality
The Roots of Health - Realizing the Potential of Complementary Medicine
Small is Beautiful in the 21st Century - The legacy of E.F. Schumacher
Solar World - Climate Change and the Green Energy Revolution
Sustainable Education - Re-visioning Learning and Change
Transforming Economic Life - A Millennial Challenge
Youth-Led Development - Harnessing the energy of youth to make poverty history
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