The concept behind biochar is a bit complicated but very interesting. Based on an ancient Amazonian practice of burying carbon in the soil, the industry plans to sequester vast quantities of carbon in the soil and sell the latent emissions as credits on the worldwide carbon market. The theory is that if terra preta (charcoal enriched soil) is created on a global scale as much as 6 billion tons of CO2 would be prevented from entering the atmosphere every year. Although this is only about half of the 8 to 10 billion tons of carbon emitted yearly by human activity it is still substantial enough to be investigated. In fact, scientists around the world are saying that burying biochar would not only slow the rate of global warming it would also enhance the soil and make a side dish of sustainable biofuels as well.
March 23, 2010
October 6, 2009
I can recall the economists, bureaucrats and investors rejoicing loudly and proudly when the Commerce Department announced that U.S. exports were rising overall, as much as $28.8 billion higher than the year before. But what the department made less noise about and even failed to mention in many instances, was the rising tide of imports, which were up as much or more, around $26.4 billion between the year 2007 and 2008.
I also read an article explaining that the nation’s seaports, airports, railways and highways were still faced with moving an additional $40 billion worth of stuff in and out across our borders, on top of the $330 billion worth of stuff that’s already going in and out each month. These figures omit the increases in the import cost that comes from rising oil prices, which is a huge factor.
But imports of consumer and industrial goods continue to dominate over exports in our trade balance. This is what is called a “trade deficit”. We make and export far less than we import and consume and this has had a huge impact on our economy and current inability to pull ourselves out of the recession. And the need for imports just keeps rising as our capacity to manufacture those items keeps disappearing. The hauling, sorting and delivering of all these foreign-made goods has evolved into a fast-growing, high-tech, high-profit industry. On that end, those that profit from this business are hard pressed to slow it down or correct the imbalance and this is also a huge part of our current picture.
April 21, 2009
Comments Off on Glaciers Losing Mass at Alarming Rate
I know I’ve talked a lot about arctic melt on this blog but the information just keeps rushing in and I can’t ignore it. I guess just saying it’s a problem may be all that I should invest my time in but I am beginning to think I have to say it over and over again because there are so many people just ignoring this. Scientists are the source of this information, I didn’t get it from a novel. And new research is showing even more alarming information: they have found that some 10 cubic km of ice has already been lost from 1500 glaciers over the past nine years. Now, that’s what I call a fast melt.
So predictions have been revamped and they are now saying that the Swiss glaciers should be gone by the end of the century. That is Swiss glaciers. When we talk about the Swiss glaciers we are talking about a practical continent, a vast area of land. I mean, 1500 is a substantial sum of these peaks and 10 cubic kilometers is equal to about 6.2 square miles. Another study, based on a sample of only 30 of these glaciers indicates that these peaks are now losing a full meter of thickness every single year. A meter is equal to a little over 3 feet.
February 6, 2009
According to Wikipedia, Biochar is “charcoal created by pyrolysis of biomass. The resulting charcoal-like material can be used as a soil improver to create terra preta and is a form of carbon capture and storage. Charcoal is a stable solid and rich in carbon content, and thus, can be used to lock carbon in the soil. Biochar is of increasing interest because of concerns about mitigation of global warming being caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.”
This sounds like another great idea for controlling our carbon emissions problem, along with algae in the ocean which I posted about last month. I don’t believe that any singular solution is going to appear and that our eventual plan will include many different ideas and technologies. I do think that Biochar has a part to play. In particular, it has great possibilities in the area of reducing the global impact of farming and the piling up of agri-waste. Yes, there is a great deal of agricultural waste because any process that turns raw materials into products generates residuals that are discarded. Without a viable use for these residuals, we end up with piles and piles of waste materials… ie, the landfill.
February 1, 2009
This is what I have read around the net. That a much respected scientist at NASA has declared that Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. This scientist is Jim Hansen, who is known to be a leading expert in the climate and has been looked to here in Florida many times over during our weather calamities, including tornadoes and hurricanes. Hey, this assessment is pretty bleak and I admit it startled me. This man, Hansen, is not known for being in the pockets of anyone in particular, especially not any biofuel company nor is he known to be friends with Al Gore.. or any Democrat that I know of. So this, I can safely say, is not some crazy conspiracy or business scheme. But I just not kidding when I say that he has warned that only urgent action by the new President could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. And he puts the window at four lousy years, meaning that action will have to be taken within Obama’s first administration to be effective. No waiting around, pals. No dragging them disbelieving feet.
According to Hansen (and other scientists like him), soaring carbon emissions are already melting the ice caps and threatening to trigger global flooding, widespread species extinctions and major disruptions of weather patterns in the near future. “We cannot afford to put off change any longer,” warns Hansen. “We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.”
January 23, 2009
This is fascinating stuff and I just have to present it. It seems that a team of UK scientists have discovered a natural process that could delay, or even end, the threat of global warming. This is absolutely amazing but they are offering some convincing findings in their research. Imagine such a thing; an end to global warming. Just like that.
The researchers making this claim, working from aboard the Royal Navy’s HMS Endurance, have found that melting icebergs off the coast of Antarctica are releasing millions of tiny particles of iron into the southern Ocean, helping to create huge ‘blooms’ of algae that absorb carbon emissions. The algae then sinks to the icy depths, effectively removing CO2 from the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Doesn’t this seem like the Earth cleaning itself? Is it possible that it actually does this?
January 21, 2009
Comments Off on 2009 Year of Climate Change
In his New Year’s message to Koreans, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the Korean government to take a more active role in global efforts to tackle climate change. This is a big move for Korea, which had always resisted efforts to curb emissions in Korea for financial reasons. Korean industry is economically challenged on a global scale and even more so now with the onset of the global recession. But Ban encouraged Korea and stressed that this is the UN Year of Climate Change, challenging Seoul to live up to its growing status in the international community.