Re: [EXTERN] Getting recognition for Biochar as a NET was RE: [Biochar] Help regarding an article Smith 2016 #net

Claudia Kammann

Hi all,


maybe this paper is also helpful here; I tried to give the integrative view on biochar, NCS and SDGs within the concert of other NETs.


best, Claudia


Von: <> Im Auftrag von Paul S Anderson
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 22. April 2020 19:59
An: Greta <spoonlegs@...>;
Cc:; Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Betreff: [EXTERN] Getting recognition for Biochar as a NET was RE: [Biochar] Help regarding an article Smith 2016


To all,      [ but first a thank you to Greta because I did not know about    .   Now I have the  article and a solution for future needs to get past pay walls!!]


YES, Smith (2016) keeps Biochar separate from SCS and BECCS in the naming of net emission technologies (NETs). 


Does anyone know of a publication prior to 2018 that named biochar as a NET or CDR technology but put joined it with SCS or BECCS?     And then I did some looking.


What I did just find is that in 2015, Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable

Sequestration (2015), National Academies Press.   (NRC = National Research Council)


This is in Box 3.1 about Biochar (page40).   (selection only; there is more worth reading)


Since biochar is seen as largely responsible for reducing

emissions by decreasing decomposition of waste plant material through the potential longterm

sequestration of the carbon in the soil, it is not classified in the current work as a CDR

technology. Further complicating consideration of biochar as a CDR technology is the fact that

pyrolysis produces less net useable energy per unit of carbon emitted to the atmosphere than

does combustion of the same material (Gaunt and Lehmann, 2008).


So, one interpretation is that the NRC did not recognize biochar in 2015 as a CDR technology, but by 2019 decided to lump it in with SCS.   Meanwhile, Smith (2016) and Minx et al. (2018) recognized biochar as a technology worthy to be called a separate CDR technology.


Interpretation could include that prior to about 2007 biochar was not hardly recognized by anyone for much of anything.  Biochar can be consider as something so new that it could be ignored, almost ignored, mis-classified, or given recognition that it may or may not deserve regarding sequestration of carbon that was removed from the atmosphere.


So, the question is not “who messed up” but “can the community of scientists review the status of biochar in its 2020 context ” to determine if biochar should be among the few but extremely important CDR methods.  That is what I am proposing needs to be done.


Fuhrman and Clarens have written that they are not specialists about biochar.  Understood and accepted.   But they (and many readers of this message) are knowledgeable about NETs and CDR and are objective scientists able to examine the data.    


This would be a great topic for the CDR discussion group, but it does not have discussions, just postings.


And the Biochar discussion group (and IBI and USBI and others) SHOULD have major interest in this issue of recognition of biochar as a major technology for CDR and sequestration.   But so far, almost zero expression of interest or concern.  


I re-direct the readers to my document (with slight revisions yesterday) entitled:  

Recognition of Biochar & Energy (BC&E) as a Separate Negative Emission Technology (NET) for Improving Integrated Assessment Modeling (IAM)

which is available at   


I offer that as a starting point, but a fresh document about the evolution of what are the NETs might be appropriate.    Whatever is done, we do need clarification of the role and potential of biochar for the fight against climate change.   And that means a publication that shows consensus among the community focused on NETs and CDR.   My document means almost nothing regarding getting others to put biochar in it appropriate position with the other NETs.  Currently we have different authors going in different directions regarding biochar as CDR. 


Discussion at the  Biochar discussion group.    Or reply directly to me:   psanders@...




From: Greta <spoonlegs@...>
Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 2020 3:50 PM
Cc:; Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Help regarding an article Smith 2016


[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

Y'all know you can get past paywalls by pasting the link into the text box at ?

On Apr 21, 2020, at 11:08 AM, Paul S Anderson <psanders@...> wrote:



This article is behind a pay wall.  I would like to see the article, but my main question is simply this:


Does Smith treat SCS and biochar as SEPARATE NETs?   I am tracking the origins of lumping biochar with SCS.   I think that Smith does NOT do so.


Smith P. (2016). Soil carbon sequestration and biochar as negative emission technologies Global Change Biology22, 1315–1324


From the abstract:

Given the negative emission potential of SCS and biochar and their potential advantages compared to other NETs, efforts should be made to include these options within IAMs, so that their potential can be explored further in comparison with other NETs for climate stabilization.






Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:

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         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.


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