ISBN: 9781603582551 Year Added to Catalog: 2009 Book Format: Paperback Book Art: Color photos Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 Number of Pages: 128 Book Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Release Date: January 12, 2010 Web Product ID: 495
Also in Nature & Environment
The Biochar Debate
Charcoal’s Potential to Reverse Climate Change and Build Soil Fertility
"A brilliant, readable review on the critical need to restore our degraded lands back to fertility—be it to sequester greenhouse gases naturally, support forests, improve soil moisture or increase crop yields. Bruges outlines how supporting natural terrestrial sequestration is the cost-effective, proven practice to extract carbon from the atmosphere, and that this can be augmented via the use of soil amendments such as biochar. He concludes with examples that elucidate why tying biochar-based land-management solutions to one-size-fits-all market incentives risks time, money and public health. Our students say, 'It's a 101 must read'—a strong recommendation, indeed."
—Alison Burchell, Geologist, Natural Terrestrial Solutions Group
The Biochar Debate is the first book to introduce both the promise and concerns surrounding biochar (fine-grained charcoal used as a soil supplement) to nonspecialists. Charcoal making is an ancient technology. Recent discoveries suggest it may have a surprising role to play in combating global warming. This is because creating and burying biochar removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Furthermore, adding biochar to soil can increase the yield of food crops and the ability of soil to retain moisture, reducing need for synthetic fertilizers and demands on scarce fresh-water supplies.
While explaining the excitement of biochar proponents, Bruges also gives voice to critics who argue that opening biochar production and use to global carbon-credit trading schemes could have disastrous outcomes, especially for the world’s poorest people. The solution, Bruges explains, is to promote biochar through an alternative approach called the Carbon Maintenance Fee that avoids the dangers. This would establish positive incentives for businesses, farmers, and individuals to responsibly adopt biochar without threatening poor communities with displacement by foreign investors seeking to profit through seizure of cheap land.
The Biochar Debate covers the essential issues from experimental and scientific aspects of biochar in the context of global warming to fairness and efficiency in the global economy to negotiations for the future of the Kyoto Protocol.
About the Author
James Bruges worked as an architect in London, Sudan, and India until 1995 when he retired in order to write about economic and environmental issues. He is the author of Sustainability and the Bristol Urban Village Initiative, The Little Earth Book, and The Big Earth Book, and was a contributor to What About China? His work has also appeared in Resurgence, The Friend, and The Ecologist. He was raised in Kashmir until the age of twelve and now lives with his wife, Marion, in Bristol, England.