In this interview, Dominic Woolf, a senior research associate at Cornell University, describes a potential method for removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere: converting biomass into a long-lived, charcoal-like material that would be added to soil. Called biochar, this material could not only sequester some of the carbon fixed by plants during photosynthesis – and prevent it from returning to the atmosphere – but could also improve soil fertility. Woolf explains some of the tradeoffs and uncertainties associated with biochar and other methods of soil carbon sequestration, and the challenges to scaling up these approaches for global climate change mitigation. This article is free-access through September 30, 2019.
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