This stark warning comes from the draft summary of the latest climate assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Even if all the world ran ... Many projects overlap with carbon capture and storage and carbon sequestration projects.
Gerhard Herres's insight:
This geoengineering should not use non-renewable material as shielding sun light with lenses brought by satellites in an orbit around earth. It should not force the next generations to burn sulphur for making SO2 in the stratosphere.
The best way is using natures help growing plants and converting part of the biomass to biochar, which is mixed with compost to build terra preta. This will bind 50% additional carbon in the soil in the biomass of microbes which enhances fertility and water- and nutritient storing capability. So it is possible to remediate degraded soils to high productivity soils and at the same time reduce CO2 in the air.
The degradation of soils from unsustainable agriculture and other development has released billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.
Gerhard Herres's insight:
This article is the very best I have read on this topic.
I wish to point out the amount of CO2 which can be collected and stored every year only on the 2000 million hectare degraded land.
If we plant trees which produce plant oil, like jatropha curcas, the branches which are cut every year to facilitate the harvest weight about 50 t/ha.
Nearly half of this is carbon stored in this biomass. The carbon in roots and trunk is not mentioned here.
If this biomass is converted by pyrolysis to biochar about 2/3 that is 16,7 t black carbon/ha remains to be mixed in compost. This will enhance the way biochar stores microbes.
This biochar is stable for at least 1000 years as the structure of terra preta in Brazil shows. The black soils at the boundary to the subjacent yellow soil are at some places 2000 years old and the boundary is sharp, showing no or nearly no decay of the black carbon with time.
If all degraded land, 2000 million ha, are used and every year 15 t/ha biochar is mixed in the soil, this will be together 30,000 million t C = 30 Gt carbon equivalent to 110 Gt CO2 taken from the air and stored in the soil.
This is more than 3 times the amount of fossil CO2 which is just released every year.
To sequester the 1000 gigatons CO2 would last only 9 years if no new CO2 from fossil sources is added, otherwise it will last 14 years.
To build up the required pyrolysis plants will last much longer, but we should start as soon as possible. If a pyrolysis plant can convert 1000t /a biomass to 600t/a biochar it will require 30 million such plants distributed on 20 million km^2. This looks like it is impossible, but every year 75 million cars are produced. Trucks, ships and planes not mentioned. The amount of material to build a pyrolysis plant is comparable to 10 cars. So all pyrolysis plants together are as much as 4 year production of cars worldwide. But they can work 20 years long.
This will only show, that this task isn't impossible, but we should not wait until the permafrost soil in the arctic releases methane. This will drive temperature much faster to extreme values.
Terra preta? Salt-water greenhouses that distill fresh water from the air? The UN's Billion Tree program? Step-harvesting? Pre-Columbian Amazonian cultures that rivaled the Inca and Aztec? So while I don't feel inclined to ...
The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists (blog) Is Biochar a Solution to Climate Change? Maybe, Maybe Not.
Gerhard Herres's insight:
This Comments are now two years old and in between it has shown, that the terra preta soils in Brazil are at some places 2 metres thick and have a sharp border at the bottom to the yellow or red natural soil. Radiocarbon measurements have shown, that the deepest layers are 2000 years old. If a halflife of carbon in the soil was only 50 years, then this would be impossible, because 1/2^40 = 10^-12 is so small that the blackness of the soils should fade out smoothly. But it is a sharp boundary. The only cause can be, that the decay rate of pyrolysis coal is extremly small.
But we must differentiate between Hydo Thermal Carbonization and pyrolysis like charcoal burner do. The HTC coal will decompose in a few years to CO2, but pyrolysis coal is stable for 2000 years.
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