The following essay appeared in Slate magazine and looks at the continuing escalation of CO2 in the atmosphere, combined with the potential for agriculture to fix the problem. Among the various tools that can be used, this article studies the role of biochar. These topics are being explored by the New America Foundation in the topic “Agriculture’s role in climate change“.
This article explores the benefits of biochar but is also clear to say that the critics are right in that “there is much practical work remaining to be done to demonstrate whether a “sun food” system can actually succeed in both feeding humanity and fighting climate change. But there is good reason to think that humans can indeed harness photosynthesis to draw down the rising level of CO2 in the atmosphere. If we can then safely store that extracted carbon in places where it will not contribute to global warming, we could significantly reduce the 400 ppm of CO2 that are currently overheating our planet (assuming that we limit the 2 ppm of annual emissions as well). In short, we might begin to turn back the clock on global warming. And not a moment too soon.”