Buying Time: Cutting Non-CO2 Pollutants Will Slow Climate Changeby Richard Levangie on Wednesday, Oct 14th, 2009 ShareClick to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Climate change isn’t only about carbon dioxide. So that’s why, in a world that is stepping close to a steep precipice, doing more to reduce non-CO2 climate change contributors such as black carbon, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), as well as expanding bio-sequestration through biochar production, might head global warming off at the pass, according to Nobel Laureate Dr. Mario Molina and co-authors in a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The authors argue that this novel perspective could transform the debate at United Nations climate change conference slated for Copenhagen in December. “Cutting HFCs, black carbon, tropospheric ozone, and methane can buy us about 40 years before we approach the dangerous threshold of 2° Celsius warming,” said co-author Professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a Distinguished Professor of Climate and Atmospheric Sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.“By targeting these short-term climate forcers, we can make a down payment on climate and provide momentum going into the December negotiations in Copenhagen,” said co-author Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “The Obama Administration and other key governments need to take up the fast-action climate agenda before it is too late.”Dr. Molina suggests that HFCs, a potent greenhouse gas that was developed to replace ozone-depleting CFCs, are already covered by existing treaties and the Montreal Protocol, and those treaties could be could be leveraged to cut HFC emissions dramatically.Similarly, black carbon, otherwise known as soot, is a huge pollution problem in the developing world that has been directly been responsible for almost 50 percent of the warming we’ve seen in the Arctic. The good news is it can be reduced quickly by providing relatively inexpensive solar cookers and diesel particulate filters to people living in the world’s poorest regions. Even better, such a step would not only slow global warming, it will also greatly improve air quality and, by extension, the health of people living in cities and countries where poverty and pollution is rife.The study’s authors also support serious investment in biochar to turn back the hands on the climate clock. Biochar is a fine-grained charcoal product — produced by burning biomass at low temperatures in low-oxygen conditions — that is plowed into soil to serve as a natural fertilizer. “The other fast-action strategies can quickly mitigate emissions,” said Zaelke, “but to back away from the cliff of abrupt climate change, we need biochar.” Richard is a writer and editor based in Halifax, Nova Scotia who specializes in clean technology and climate change. He's the founder of One Blue Marble, a climate change activism blog and web site. Follow Richard Levangie @triplepundit 4 responses Another significant aspect of bichar and aerosols are the low cost ($3) Biomass cook stoves that produce char but no respiratory disease. http://terrapretapot.org/ and village level systems http://biocharfund.org/ with the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF). The Biochar Fund recently won $300K for these systems citing these priorities; (1) Hunger amongst the world’s poorest people, the subsistence farmers of Sub-Saharan Africa, (2) Deforestation resulting from a reliance on slash-and-burn farming, (3) Energy poverty and a lack of access to clean, renewable energy, and (4) Climate change.The Biochar Fund : Exceptional results from biochar experiment in Cameroon http://scitizen.com/screens/blogPage/viewBlog/sw_viewBlog.php?idTheme=14&idContribution=3011http://www.carboncommentary.com/2009/10/01/761/comment-page-1#comment-2558The broad smiles of 1500 subsistance farmers say it all ( that , and the size of the Biochar corn root balls ) http://biocharfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=55&Itemid=75Mark my words; Given the potential for Laurens Rademaker’s programs to grow exponentialy, only a short time lies between This man’s nomination for a Noble Prize. An honor to have Laurens as a commenter on the Biochar list ,This authoritative PNAS article should cause the recent Royal Society Report to rethink their criticism of Biochar systems of sequestration;Reducing abrupt climate change risk using the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/10/09/0902568106.full.pdf+htmlThere are dozens soil researchers on the subject now at USDA-ARS. and many studies at The up coming ASA-CSSA-SSSA joint meeting; http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2009am/webprogram/Session5675.htmSenator Baucus is co-sponsoring a bill along with Senator Tester (D-MT) called WE CHAR. Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration Act! It focuses on promoting biochar technology to address invasive species and forest biomass. It includes grants and loans for biochar market research and development, biochar characterization and environmental analyses. It directs USDI and USDA to provide loan guarantees for biochar technologies and on-the-ground production with an emphasis on biomass from public lands. And the USGS is to do biomas availability assessments. WashingtonWatch.com – S. 1713, The Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration (WECHAR) Act of 2009http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/111_SN_1713.html#commentformCongressional Research Service report (by analyst Kelsi Bracmort) is the best short summary I have seen so far – both technical and policy oriented. http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R40186_20090203.pdf .United Nations Environment Programme, Climate Change Science Compendium 2009 http://www.unep.org/compendium2009/ http://www.unep.org/compendium2009/PDF/Ch5_compendium2009.pdfEndorsements; Bill Clinton said Biochar; Mantria Industries inducted in Clinton Global Intuitive http://www.mantria.com/eg_presidential_video.shtmlAbout time Al Gore got on the Biochar Bus, now if he will stick at it, waving out the windows; Al Gore praised in Brazil the indigenous practice of “terra preta” http://translate.google.com/translate?prev=hp&hl=en&js=y&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww1.voanews.com%2Fspanish%2Fnews%2Flatin-america%2FAl-Gore-Brasil-terra-preta-indigenas-amazonicos-64318922.html&sl=es&tl=en&history_state0=Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it. Cheers, Erich Visit http://www.outbackbiochar.com for biochar information, biochar research and the latest biochar news. This wonderfully informative site has gardening tips with biochar, recent studies published all over the world and informative biochar articles. In addition you can purchase biochar for your home garden from Outback Biochar. Thank you in advance for your support and remember, if we all work together we can make real progress on climate change! Pingback: ODS Projects Enter the Carbon Market: A Near-Term Solution to Climate Change | Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit Don’t believe in what biochar can do? Learn more about the future of agriculture with biochar, from the most complete book about biochar “The Biochar Revolution” http://www.biochar-books.com Learn how to get terra preta! Comments are closed.