Drawdown for a safe climate

To return to safe levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere – the famous 350 parts per million – we have got to figure out how we can rapidly drawdown huge amounts of carbon.

The trouble is that we now have burned so much oil, coal and gas and put so much carbon and other greenhouse gases in the air that it has destabilised our planet’s climate. So even if we manage to quickly transform our society into a zero emissions society with 100% renewable energy, zero waste, active transport and electric cars, changing our diet and composting and all the rest – this still won’t be enough to avoid a global catastrophe with melting poles and glaciers, rising sea levels and all that follows. UNLESS we figure out how we can drawdown carbon, so that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reach a peak and then begin to decline.

That’s not just theory. Right now there is a range of immediate actions we can take to drawdown our past emissions, to take it backwards, to rebuild a safe climate.

A session at the Sustainable Living Festival’s Big Weekend in Melbourne offered a panel of four experts who each told their positive stories about how they explore, experiment and gather experience with different ways of drawing down the CO2, all of which have multiple benefits.

The one-hour session on 10 February 2018 was entitled ‘Drawdown for a safe climate’.

The speakers were:

Professor Justin Borevitz


• Professor Justin Borevitz from the ANU Climate Change Institute – about why he thinks the Sustainable Living Festival could develop into a ‘Regenerative Living Festival’

Farmer Deane Belfield


• Farmer Deane Belfield about regenerative farming, soil organic carbon and biological batteries

Dr Adrian Morphett


• Dr Adrian Morphett from Green Man Char about biochar production. Works with Manningham City Council on turning waste tree clippings into biochar. He is a committee member of the International Biochar Initiative which has a goal of producing one billion tonnes biochar, that’s one gigatonnes, within 50 years.




Dr Chris Taylor


• Dr Chris Taylor about forest carbon and forest repair. The next period of logging in old Victorian forests will see about 20 million tonnes of carbon emitted into the atmosphere, whereas the forest has the capacity to sequester 100 million tonnes if we just leave it alone.

Adrian Whitehead


• Master of Ceremonies was Adrian Whitehead, co-founder Beyond Zero Emissions, CACE and Save the Planet.






» On 19 July 2017 in The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse, talked about natural and agricultural solutions to the climate change crisis with to natural sequence farming expert Peter Andrews. The podcast page contains links to numerous other initiatives and articles about regenerative carbon sequestration.




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Re: drawdown – see also:




» New Scientist – 21 February 2018:
Rock dusting on farms could cool the climate, so let’s try it
Crushed basalt applied to agricultural land could soak up billions of tons of carbon dioxide and boost crops. Let’s put it to the test, says Olive Heffernan

» Futurity – 9 February 2018:
‘Agroforestry’ may be new weapon in climate change fight
Agroforestry could play an important role in mitigating climate change because it sequesters more atmospheric carbon in plant parts and soil than conventional farming, report researchers.

» National Observer – 9 February 2018:
There are climate solutions in our soil
Alberta — home to one-third of Canada’s agricultural land — could put a big dent in its carbon footprint by transitioning to organic agriculture

» UPI – 19 February 2018:
Growing crops with crushed rocks could reduce CO2 emissions
“Strategies for taking CO2 out of the atmosphere are now on the research agenda and we need realistic assessment of these strategies, what they might be able to deliver, and what the challenges are,” said researcher James Hansen.





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“The rest of the world can see the donkey ears above our blinkers: it is only here we believe they are invisible.”
“We can accept that the world is round, that the globe is warming and smoking causes lung cancer but we cannot seem to accept as true or pertinent what the explorers witnessed of Aboriginal society and economy. European science has produced marvels and its foundation principle is curiosity. Why are we not curious that Aboriginal people could cultivate crops in the desert? Why do we pay no attention to the dams and irrigation techniques employed? When our farmers are so threatened by droughts, salinity, erosion and crop diseases, why do we not investigate the crops and farming techniques developed over thousands of years to accommodate the challenging characteristics of this continent?”

~ Bruce Pascoe