The new blockbuster climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations makes two things startlingly clear. First, we must massively accelerate the decarbonisation of the global economy. This will require rapid system-wide transformations in the way we build our cities, generate energy, grow food and manufacture goods. And second, we must capture carbon right out of the air.
What composting of urban wastes does is to reduce and eliminate the use of mineral fertilisers. (One tonne of N made in a modern USA factory typically consumes 21,000 kWh of electricity – which was probably generated using an engine burning fossilised fuel, which produced Carbon dioxide.) Farming also grows crops with green leaves – which take Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. These two activities, composting urban wastes and growing green leaves, lock up organic Carbon and reduce the release of the GHG (Green House Gas) Carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. What’s more, crops grown on high Carbon soils need less irrigation, less pesticide sprays, lodge less and yield more. Only farming can do this.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 28 October 18