Between 30 GtCO2 and 40 GtCO2 fossil fuels based carbon dioxide are being added to the Earths atmosphere each year. This has led to a concentration of 408 ppm (parts per million) of CO2 in the air we breath (2017). In the year 1850 this figure was 240 ppm; in other words; during the industrial revolution we have increased the CO2 concentration by more than 167 ppm – an increase of 70%. Scientists estimate that a “safe” and sustainable limit is 350 ppm; so we are now 57 ppm over that limit. Implementing the below suggested actions, a “peak” CO2 would lie at approx. 417 ppm. Following a “business as usual” course we increase CO2 concentration by 4 ppm/year, radically increasing the risk of a “tipping point”, or irreversible climate change. Furthermore, and specific to these projects:
“Of the 116 models the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) looks at to chart the economically optimal paths to the Paris (Agreement) goal, 101 assume “negative emissions”. No scenarios are at all likely to keep warming under 1.5°C without greenhouse-gas removal.” – “Sucking up Carbon”, The Economist, November 18th 2017, p. 19
To accomplish an effective reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere we believe that three actions must be undertaken, worldwide, and that they must begin immediately:
- Reduce global fossil fuel emissions by 80%; from 30 GtCO2 – 40 GtCO2 to 7 GtCO2
- Produce at least 2,2 Gt/year of biochar, achieving a net CO2 reduction of one (1) Gt, equivalent to 0,5 ppm/year
- Increase net mass (standing crop) of trees by an average of 2%/year (beginning with a higher amount); a doubling over 50 years.
The means to reach the goal of 2.2 Gt/year, BioChar production needs to be regulated; considering scale, minimizing transport over distances for feedstock and product, sourcing from land use that does not compete with food or ecological services already being provided, considering water and other inputs, and so forth. There are places for large-scale plants, such as where a waste material can be readily recovered into feedstock for combined biochar and energy, but it may be, that the best choice in most cases is to scale down production facilities to local arrangements, such as on-farm production. Recapturing heat, such as for glasshouses, is what makes that process economical.
Combining biochar production with tree planting and carbon farming (increasing percentage of carbon in soil through regenerative agricultural practices) are potentially the most effective and powerful ways to tackle climate change and create resilient communities.