Friday, August 9, 2013

Full Circle Biochar featured in Grist article on the role of photosynthesis as a response to climate change

Those involved with VEC all share a profound admiration of and respect for the elegance, optimisation, logic and ‘antifragility’ found throughout nature.

In fact all of the VEC finalists are looking to sustainably remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere either as a co-benefit of restoring natural systems to their rightful states; and/or by learning lessons from nature and harnessing them to meet the needs of the modern world.

It was therefore great to see biochar systems innovators and VEC finalists Full Circle Biochar recently featured by renowned environmental journalist Mark Hertsgaard in an article for Grist on the role of photosynthesis as a response to climate change.

In the article, Hertsgaard discusses the readily available role that photosynthesis can potentially play in extracting carbon from the air (in addition to protecting and preserving biodiversity, and sustainably feeding and fuelling the future of course…). The article then delves into the potential opportunities of intelligently designed biochar projects to sequester carbon and synergistically support their upstream agricultural systems. Full Circle Biochar is cited during a discussing of the new advanced kiln they have constructed in partnership with Prof. Jonannes Lehmann at Cornell University.

Full Circle are one of three biochar finalists in VEC, and the short-list covers a range of GHG removal proposals from the Direct Air Capture of CO2 through to the restoration of ecosystems. Questions do remain in relation to each area, and the lines between working with and mimicking nature and undue interfering can often be blurry. However the nexus of respecting the design logic found in nature, and either working alongside and responsibly, ethically with it, or simply allowing natural systems to do their thing is likely to be found in all scalable and sustainable ways of removing greenhouse gases from the air.

As Hertsgaard put it:

“We need a new paradigm: If humanity is to avoid a future in which the deadly heat waves, floods, and droughts of recent years become normal, we must lower the existing level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. To be sure, reducing additional annual emissions and adapting to climate change must remain vital priorities, but the extraction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere has now become an urgent necessity…

“Critics are right that much practical work remains 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.”

By David Addison

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