Open letter from biochar to Members of the European Parliament

Dear members of the European Parliament! 

Firstly, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Biochar. I look just like my brother – charcoal, whom you sometimes use to grill or to cook.  Contrarily to him, I am not designed to be burnt, I am supposed to be used in the soil. 

Originally, I was biomass – tree, bush, grass or straw. Either way, my physical essence is and always has been carbon. Carbon that you call biogenic because it is originally carbon from a molecule of airborne carbon dioxide. You call him greenhouse gas and ascribe global warming and climate changes to him because there is an abundance of it in the atmosphere. And the reason for it is the burning of my ancestors – oil, coal and natural gas. 

But unlike hard coal, I was not formed over millions of years beneath the ground, but just a few minutes with the help of imperfect burning. During this burning process, the original carbon in biomass changes to the black one, the one that makes me now. Thanks to this transformation, I am now stable, which means I resist the oxidation process and therefore I will not change back to gas within the carbon cycle. 

To simplify that – unless you burn me, I remove the carbon from CO2 which you think there is more off in the air than it should be.

But I can do more than just that! All of you will probably know my colleagues from medicine who help you during digestive problems (CARBOFIT and other types of medicinal plant-based charcoal). They use their large active surface area to remove toxins and other harmful substances from your digestive system. You can also know our friends from personal hygiene items, for example in soap or toothpaste. You can also find us in clothes or diapers where we reduce odor.

We actively help to clean air and water, from which we remove other types of advancements of our time – for example phosphorus, oil substances, phenols and medication and hormones residues. 

But my fundamentals lie in agriculture. First, I like to wallow in stables under the hogs, cows, or chickens. They like to taste me, walk over me and soil me with droppings. In exchange, I help to clean their digestive tract, improve health, reduce smell and capture methane. Inside of bedding or manure, I embark on my last journey – to the soil. But in there, I won’t be just lazing around for thousands of years! I provide plants with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other elements from manure. I also offer my large surface area to soil bacteria and fungi as a safe home. In exchange, they offer nutrients from decaying biomass to plants and ensure natural fertility of the soil. In case of the farmers using too much nitrogen, I help to retain him, so he does not wash away and turn into nitrous oxide. In the same way I help to prevent leeching of methane from soil. 

I am also able to hold rainwater, so that I can provide it later to plants, which, in my vicinity, are more resistant to stress and diseases. They will thus thrive better and absorb more carbon from carbon dioxide, which is also permanently and safely stored inside me… And if you were to ask if I am “safe” myself – Yes! Specifically – I was registered as auxiliary soil substance for use in European agriculture at the office of the Ministry of Agriculture in Czech Republic as agrouhel®[1]  and produce a unique material – MicroCHAR®[2]  from me. Do you see what I can offer you to address the climate change?!

I write all of this to you because I would like to distinguish myself from engineering methods of removal of carbon dioxide, such as direct capture of carbon dioxide and its injection into geological layers. 

I provide my services for the climate and soil for hundreds of millions of years. I am formed during the natural occurrence of wildfires, which always plays the role of restoration and purification. I am a result of natural processes and such, I am sufficiently verified and proven. 

After all, many human efforts to remove carbon from the air have their hopes set on me. Otherwise, I would probably not be the most widely used BCR method to date, accepted by IPCC and most importantly, by buyers in voluntary carbon markets! 

Yours sincerely Biochar, represented by Mr. Jan Káňa