Bill Hewitt

I have been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. I blog on climate change for the Foreign Policy Association. (http://climatechange.foreignpolicyblogs.com/) I was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain as a Sierra Club leader in New York City. I spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation and also worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. I am a writer and editor, the principal of Hewitt Communications, and teach a class on climate change in the Global Affairs MS program at NYU.

Bountiful offsets

Biochar as the new black gold

Special Series: What’s the deal with offsets?Photo illustration by Tom Twigg / GristImagine a system that can: (potentially) store billions of tons of carbon in soil for centuries; dramatically reduce agricultural waste, forest debris and some municipal solid waste, thus eliminating the production of greenhouse gases that result from their decomposition; generate energy to both power itself and a surplus for use in surface transportation or electricity generation; and greatly increases the productivity of agricultural soil, thus reducing the need for expensive and polluting fertilizers. This is the promise of biochar — the carbon-rich remains of “burning” organic matter via …

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