A Brief History of Agricultural Time

Our farming for over 10,000 years has been responsible for 2/3rds of our excess greenhouse gases. This soil carbon, converted to carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide began a slow stable warming that now accelerates with burning of fossil fuel. The unintended consequence has been the flowering of our civilization. Our science has now realized the consequences and developed a more encompassing wisdom.

Modern Agriculture has evolved in the ability to remove the limitations to plant growth, from burning forest for ash fertilizers, to bison bones, to Guano islands, then in 1913, to crafty Germans figuring out how to suck nitrogen from the air to now with natural gas derived fertilizers. These chemical fertilizers have over come nutrient limits to growth for 100 years.

NPK and the "Green Revolution" in genetics have brought us to where we are, all made possible by basically mining soil carbon stocks. So we have now hit a carbon limit in two distinct ways. The first is continued loss of soil carbon content, the second is fossil carbon energy cost. The present farming system spends ten cents of fossil energy delivering one cent of food energy.

We can not go back, but we can go forward with our newly acquired wisdom. Wise land management, Conservation Agriculture and afforestation can build back our soil carbon, Biochar allows the soil food web to build much more recalcitrant organic carbon, living biomass & Glomalins ( http://www.ars.usda.gov/... ) in addition to the carbon in the biochar.

We can rectify the carbon cycle, and beyond that, biochar systems serve the same healing function for the nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, toxicity in soils and sediments and as a feed additive cut the carbon foot print of livestock by 50%.

The Paleoclimate Record shows agricultural-geo-engineering is responsible for most of our excess greenhouse gases.  The unintended consequence, the flowering of our civilization. Our science has now realized these consequences and has developed a more encompassing wisdom.  Wise land management,  afforestation and  the thermal conversion of biomass can build back our soil carbon.  Pyrolysis, Gasification  and Hydro-Thermal Carbonization are known biofuel technologies,  What is new are the concomitant benefits of biochars for Soil Carbon Sequestration; building soil biodiversity & nitrogen efficiency, for in situ remediation of toxic agents, and, as a feed supplement cutting the carbon foot print of livestock.  Modern systems are closed-loop with no significant emissions. The general life cycle analysis is: every 1 ton of biomass yields 1/3 ton Biochar equal to 1 ton CO2e, plus biofuels equal to 1MWh exported electricity, so each energy cycle is 1/3 carbon negative.  [1] [2] [3]

Beyond Rectifying the Carbon Cycle;
Biochar systems Integrate nutrient management, serving the same healing function for the Nitrogen and Phosphorous Cycles.  A 50% reduction of NH3 loss when composting.  Ag manure char absorbs phosphorus for nutrient credit income, CHP, Biomass Crop & energy grants and when carbon comes to account, another big credit. The compounding soil benefits; reduced nitrogen loss & soil Nitrous-oxide
emissions and a 17% increased water efficiency are documented in trials across soil types and climates.  The production of ammonia and char from biomass and other third generation companies aiming for drop-in fuels, can free agriculture from fossil energy. [4]  [5]

The Agricultural Soil Carbon Sequestration Standards are the royal road for the GHG Mitigation; This stakeholder effort with the USDA & EPA, Reviewed by both Congressional Ag Committees, who asked for expansion to ISO status, the goal now is to get the world on the same soil carbon page. [6]

Economic at all Scales;
Local economic stimulus is at all scales of development, from the Global Clean Cook Stove Initiative, to base load manure systems, to industrial biomass power production. Replacing "Three Stone" stoves with biomass stoves, the health effects equal the eradication of Malaria & AIDs combined. Delivering carbon credits to developing countries would further economic stimulus. [7]
Given the lack of leadership in pricing carbon, companies are taking charge.  WalMart is sourcing local produce, training small farmers and presenting bold leadership with their Sustainability Index Program.  Vendors now must supply full cradle-to-cradle life cycle analysis. They are now crunching that data to formulate true carbon footprint labeling, empowering consumer choice.

The Major Endorsements include:
Dr. Jim Hansen, Dr. James Lovelock,
Nobel laureates;  Al Gore and Dr. Mario Molina,
Politicians; Tony Blair, Tony Abbott, Secretaries Salazar & Vilsack,
Environmentalist; Tim Flannery, Bill McKibben, Richard Branson & his Carbon War Room.

The photosynthetic "capture" collectors are up and running all around us, the "storage" sink is in operation just under our feet, conversion reactor are the only infrastructure we need to build out. Carbon, as the center of life, has high value to recapitalize our soils. Yielding nutrient dense foods and Biofuels,  Paying Premiums of pollution abatement and toxic remediation and the growing Dividend created by the increasing biomass of a thriving soil community.

Since we have filled the air , filling the seas to full, soil is the only beneficial place left.
Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.

Thank you for your efforts.

[5] Update;
A truly ground building announcement from CoolPlanet Biofuels
;
Supported by BP, GE, Google & Conoco, a pyrolitic/catalytic system delivering high surface area Biochar and 3000 gallons of tank ready fuel per acre. (from 25 Ton/ac Miscanthus grass) at $1.20/Gal.
President Mike Cheiky presenting to a Google audience his company's plans for "Negative-Carbon" biofuels, soil improvement, and poverty reduction.
http://www.youtube.com/...
Leo Manzer, A DuPont Fellow, is on the Technical Advisory Board

Is it fossil fuel ?...or is it biofuel? ... only your radiocarbon
isotope tester knows for sure....

Wee-Beastie Real estate at Land Rush Prices;
The farm scale reactors are producing a high surface area biochar, 600 sq
meters / gram, Or, One ton of  has a surface area of 148,000 Acres!!
Now for conversion fun: 148,000 Acres is equal to 230 square miles!!
Rockingham Co. VA. , where I live, is only 851 Sq. miles,
Now at the middle of research application rates of 1 lb/sq ft  or 20
tons/acre, this yields 4,600 Sq miles of surface area per Acre.  VA is
39,594 Sq miles. An eighth of Virginia in every acre.
What  this suggest to me is a potential of sequestering virgin forest
amounts of carbon just in the soil alone, without counting the forest on
top.