Biochar and Global Warming - Can This Be a Solution?

Damages of Open Field Crop Burning

In Asia it is a common practice for poor farmers to burn fields of crop residue as a way to purge and get ready for the next crop.

Not only does this cause unhealthy air quality for those in the immediate area, the smoke is a major contributor to global warming, and that affects everyone.

The practice is not limited to Asia, field burning around the world creates 330,000 tons of black carbon every year, which is the 2nd biggest contributor to global warming.

The poor farmers of the world that create 25% of the world's black carbon need an alternative to removing the crop residue. The solution is to use pyrolyzer burners instead of open field burning. The process creates biochar, an end product that has many uses, and eliminates the smoke.

Burning the same amount of field waste.
Burning the same amount of field waste. | Source

Can Biochar Save the World?

Biochar enthusiasts believe it can. Widespread replacement of open field burning can definitely have an impact on how much pollution we generate.

Making biochar removes three tons CO2 from the atmosphere for every ton of biochar produced.

Research has shown that the production and utilization of biochar applied at high application rates can increase soil carbon, increase crop yields, lower greenhouse gas emissions and provide water retention and reduce nutrient runoff from soils.

Soil and Water Decomtamination

Our groundwater and much of the marginal land farmed by the rural poor are contaminated with pesticides, industrial chemicals, effluents from dumps and mine tailings. Their presence in the soil ensures that they enter the food chain through either crops or freshwater food sources.

The surface chemistry of biochar encourages the breakdown of many toxins and the adsorption of others to the biochar itself such that they are “locked up.” Once locked up, they are no longer bioavailable and cannot harm people.

Biochar used as a soil amendment can prevent toxins from entering the food chain or water; families can use biochar as a simple and inexpensive water filter media.

Climate Change and Global Warming

When you hear the words "Global Warming" what is your personal response?

  • Fear of the future
  • Denial that there is a problem
  • Confusion about what is really going on
  • Angry that we are in this situation
  • Apathy, just don't care
  • Concerned, want to get involved with making changes
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Interesting Facts

  • Poor farmers release 25 percent of the world’s total of “black carbon”—clouds of smoke that count as the second-largest warming source after CO2—by burning more than 330,000 gigatons of field wastes every year.
  • Making biochar from just 25 percent of developing world field waste will annually eliminate at least 82,500 metric tons of black carbon and its warming effects.

How to Get Involved

The best way to get involved is to arm yourself with knowledge about the issues, learn about what is being done to reverse global warming, and how you can support efforts to reduce the threat Climate Change poses to all of us.

  • Follow on Twitter #globalwarming #climatechange #biocharresearch
  • Explore Facebook - many Pages on Environmental Issues, do a search
  • Stay current with what is happening on a daily basis. a good source for up-to-date resource links can be found at Warm Heart Environmental Daily Updates.
  • Sign up for Environmental Newsletters
  • Watch your own Carbon Footprint, live as green as you can!

Open Field Burning Must Be Ended

Common sight after rice harvest in Asia
Common sight after rice harvest in Asia | Source

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