Comment on Panel: Biochar by James Bruges by Patrick Noble

James, of course charcoal may have the benefits which you outline, but benefits for a few, since the charring process reduces complex proteins to much less than the original bio mass. The total mass of bio is reduced in exchange for heat. Moreover that bio mass is imported from soils, which must thereby lose fertility. There are specialist soil organisms for every stage of decomposition and mineralisation and so plant growth. For instance, earthworms begin the first stages of the bio cycle, which bio char removes. If wastes are returned evenly (& justly) to agricultural land, then they will be spread very thinly indeed, so that mineralization is taken up in plant growth rather than into gasification and leaching.

People have been curious about the high fertility of the Terra Preta soils of the Amazon Basin, which were achieved over generations by the systematic addition of charcoal. Hunting, foraging and fishing had provided a surplus of waste to that of the complementary agricultural production. Charcoal became a useful tool for the storage of that surplus fertility. Such systems are no help to us today. We can only import bio mass by impoverishing a neighbour’s bio mass and we have no
wilderness for foraging.

On a planetary scale, charcoal (or sequestration sump) reduces bio mass for both crop yields and the pumping capacity of Earth’s lungs. Of course elites may import charcoal for
their particular benefit at the expense of the many. It is no accident that the latest “Green” craze is charcoal sold,
(ironically by an “organic” millionaire) as Carbon Gold! It fits a certain market perfectly – seeming technological, while fashionably embracing the wisdom of the ancients!

That Carbon Gold is certified as “organic” by the Soil Association is a measure of how corrupted simple common sense has become. Biology does not follow laws of physics in which matter or energy always remain in either form. On the contrary, life can diminish to nothing – re-appearing as its lifeless components. It can also increase to an optimum mass – a mass which bio char diminishes. The carbon cycle is a delusion. Carbon cannot cycle. Living highly-complex proteins cycle and by way of the very many elements of which they are composed.

Here’s some more – Sorry!

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