Canadian Biomass Magazine

New book touts benefits of biochar to reverse climate change

March 4, 2019
By Chelsea Green Publishing

March 4, 2019 - In order to rescue ourselves from climate catastrophe, we need to radically alter how humans live on Earth. We have to go from spending carbon to banking it. We have to put back the trees, wetlands, and corals. We have to regrow the soil and turn back the desert. We have to reverse the flow of greenhouse gases and send them in exactly the opposite direction: down, not up. A practice unlocked centuries ago points the way: transform impoverished soils into fertile black earth by converting organic materials into long lasting carbon.

The benefits of this carbonized material, now called biochar, extend far beyond soil. Employed to its full potential, it can run the carbon cycle in reverse. Burn: Using Fire to Cool the Earth looks beyond renewable biomass and carbon capture energy systems to offer a bigger and bolder vision for the next phase of human progress, including:

  • A comprehensive overview of biochar’s diverse applications, from agriculture and water filtration systems, to building materials and the manufacturing of everyday products
  • Bold solutions for creating and incentivizing a carbon drawdown economy
  • Climate change mitigation strategies that are cost-saving or cost-neutral
  • New ideas and innovations that will motivate environmentalists, green tech companies, policy makers and city planners

Fully developed, this innovative approach doesn’t come at an enormous cost or carry great risk – to the contrary, it can actually save companies money and provide new revenue streams for tech-savvy companies exploring new technologies. Bates’ and Draper’s vision contains the seeds of a new, circular economy in which energy, natural resources, and human ingenuity enter a virtuous cycle of improvement with bold new solutions to meet the challenges of climate change that can begin right now.

Burn: Using Fire to Cool the Earth (Chelsea Green) in now on sale nationwide, in Canada, and will be available from booksellers in the UK on March 28.

Albert Bates is a lawyer, scientist, and teacher, and founder of the Global Village Institute. His books include Climate in Crisis; The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook; The Biochar Solution; and The Paris Agreement. He lives in Tennessee. Find out more at


Kathleen Draper is the US Director for the Ithaka Institute for Carbon Intelligence, a non-profit, open source organization focused on the use of biochar in climate farming, agroforestry as well as other industrial uses of biochar. Find out more at

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