What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Blog Archive

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Ancient Carbon Sequestration technology discovered!

Plant Trees and Create Healthy Soil, that's it, that's all there is to it.
Of course this means we'll have to stop treating forests and soil like they are just there to be wasted. That can't be too hard .... can it?

Lester Brown, the guru behind Plan B at the Earth Island Institute, lays it out for you over at celsias.

Here's an excerpt,

"A successful deforestation ban may require a ban on the construction of additional biodiesel refineries and ethanol distilleries. Against this backdrop of growing concern about the forest-climate relationship, a leading Swedish energy firm, Vattenfall, has examined the large-scale potential for foresting wasteland to sequester carbon dioxide. They begin by noting that there are 1.86 billion hectares of degraded land in the world--land that was once forestland, cropland, or grassland--and that half of this, or 930 million hectares, has a decent chance of being profitably reclaimed. Some 840 million hectares of this total are in the tropical regions, where reclamation would mean much higher rates of carbon sequestration.

Vattenfall estimates that the maximum technical potential of these 930 million hectares is to absorb roughly 21.6 billion tons of CO2 per year. If, as part of a global climate stabilization strategy, carbon sequestration were valued at $210 per ton of carbon, the company believes that 18 percent of this technical potential could be realized. If so, this would mean planting 171 million hectares of land to trees.

This area--larger than that planted to grain in India--would sequester 3.5 billion tons of CO2 per year, or over 950 million tons of carbon. The total cost of sequestering carbon at $210 per ton would be $200 billion. Spread over a decade, this would mean investing $20 billion a year to give climate stabilization a large and potentially decisive boost. This global forestation plan to remove atmospheric CO2, most of it put there by industrial countries, would be funded by them. An independent body would be set up to administer, fund, and monitor the vast tree planting initiative. Aside from the Vattenfall forestation idea, there are already many tree planting initiatives under way that are driven by a range of concerns, from climate change to desert expansion, to soil conservation, to making cities more habitable. ...

A number of agricultural practices can also increase the carbon stored as organic matter in soils. Farming practices that reduce soil erosion and raise cropland productivity usually also lead to higher carbon content in the soil. Among these are shifting from conventional tillage to minimum-till and no-till, the more extensive use of cover crops, the return of all livestock and poultry manure to the land, expansion of irrigated area, a return to more mixed crop-livestock farming, and the forestation of marginal farmlands.

Rattan Lal, a Senior Agronomist with the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at Ohio State University, has calculated the range of potential carbon sequestration for each of many practices, such as those just cited. For example, expanding the use of cover crops to protect soil during the off-season can store from 68 million to 338 million tons of carbon worldwide each year. Calculating the total carbon sequestration for the practices he cites shows a potential for sequestering 400 million tons of carbon each year at the low end, and 1.2 billion tons of carbon per year at the more optimistic high end."

Once again the "technology" we need is right there in front of us, not 20 years off like the myth of clean coal. It's the technology of lifting our eyelids, a radical process of opening our eyes and our minds at the same time. Let's shift the $200billion out of the rich man's bailout program currently under way in Washington and Wall Street and pay for something truly worthwhile, a genuine investment in the future, the planet's future.

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