Re: A climate change solution slowly gains ground: Washington Post


This is a depressingly familiar story. Everyone loves cool, futuristic, high-tech solutions. Nobody ever considers the obvious point that absent a Manhattan Project, new technologies do not scale fast. No less important, any technology that captures fossil fuel emissions can at best be carbon neutral. That is, if the technology captured 100% of the emissions, all it would do is to 0 out the addition of new carbon to the atmosphere. Capture CO2 from a coal-fired power plant? Pump it into an old oil well? Cool. How much of the plant's emissions are you not capturing? What about the emissions of that mile long train that hauled the coal to the plant. What about....

The challenge here is to address the bias in both reporting and thinking. It is these that direct us down these practical dead ends and divert our attention from the task at hand: removing carbon from the atmosphere.

Here Kathleen Draper is absolutely right. Biochar is the only viable means available for sequestering large quantities of carbon. And as David Yarrow points out, once we do this properly, we will set off a cascade of additional carbon sequestering processes in the soil. 

Time to get out there and pyrolize! Municipalities can save millions by charring everything heading for landfills, sewage sludge, and autumn leaf collections. Timber and lumber companies can save - even profit - by charring. Farmers can char corn stalk/soy hay and plow the char in before planting cover crops. Given cost savings realized, all of these ought to be profitable even at today's ridiculously low valuation of carbon removal.

Where is the leadership on this? Where is the Mike Bloomberg of the oceans Initiative? 

Time to stop explaining all of biochar's limits and to start selling. Otherwise, high-tech cool and its big media shills are going to waste a lot more of the little time we have left.

On Tue, Apr 23, 2019, 3:28 AM Kim Chaffee kim.chaffee2@... [biochar] <biochar@...> wrote:

A climate change solution slowly gains ground:  Washington Post 

This article discusses the slow progress of the “high tech” atmospheric carbon capture and sequestration industry.  They seem to have made some progress in lowering the cost and increasing their scale over the years with three companies now operating small plants.  They have also attracted funding from Bill Gates and several fossil fuel companies.  However, their prospects for building tens of thousands to millions of these plants within the short time we have left to deal with climate change is not promising.  

As Dan Kammen, professor of Energy & Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley says, "The prices [of carbon capture] would have to fall a huge amount for it to be part of our near-term portfolio, meaning 2050 or sooner,” Kammen says. Carbon capture from the air “can be an arrow in the quiver,” he says. But he adds that changing land use and forestry, using known techniques for taking CO2 from the air and storing it, “would be the best investment in carbon capture today.”

“I recommend the boring Charlie Brown strategy,” he says. “When is the best day to plant a tree? Yesterday. Second best? Today.

New carbon capture technology is “the shiny new object on the table,” he says, but “with the 30-year clock more than ticking we have to scale up technology. We absolutely need to invest in carbon capture because we will have to do a good deal more of it.”  

We need to show Professor Klarman that biochar is another scalable and cost effective means of atmospheric carbon removal.   


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