Books of the Year: Cool heads with an answer to global warming

It has been my year of biochar, and my reading reflects this. Our biochar firm Carbon Gold was co-financed last year with VenEarth, a Silicon Valley fund. We closed the deal while I was at the UN Poznan climate talks in Poland this March.

by Craig Sams

We had already lobbied the EU and buttonholed Nicholas Stern to get across the biochar message: turning woody biomass into charcoal - biochar - means carbon can be permanently sequestered in the soil. Biochar is viable without subsidies - it is more profitable as a soil improver than being burned. The carbon in biochar is stable in soil for centuries. It buys time to reduce emissions by increasing solar, wind, tide and geothermal power. I've gone from Green & Black's to blackened greens.

My reading in 2009 kicked off with Lord Stern's A Blueprint for a Safer Planet: How to manage climate change and create a new era of progress and prosperity. His message was clear: take action now on climate change and every pound spent will save more in the future.

Investment for future savings is commonplace to successful business management; now it's gaining political traction. Stern's book helps bridge the gap between climate change and finance. It shows how we can deal with the short-term economic crisis, achieve medium-term sustainable growth and ensure longer-term prevention of 'devastating climate change'.

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