On Friday (March 27), my department hosted Dr. Charles Rice, a professor and soil microbiologist at Kansas State University. Dr. Rice is an alumnus of my department, and has had a very distinguished career. His presentation, and much of his research, dealt with the roles that agricultural practice may mitigate against elevated carbon dioxide. Among the things he has found (and that I learned of) is that agricultural practice (such as no-till farming) can increase the amount of carbon deposition in soils, enough so as to provide an economical and practical avenue to reducing atmospheric CO2 (without requiring lots of new investment or technology). Impressively, he was member of a group and a co-author of a report that earned recognition by way of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. This is an outstanding achievement, and certainly a feather in the caps of my department and of the University of Kentucky.
Big news, no? Well, in Kentucky, this is really big news.
Oh well …
Sounds to me as if Rice is putting the solid science behind Freeman Dyson’s recent suggestion that we could sequester a lot of carbon if we concentrate on making healthier soils. Is that a fair shorthand?
That’s a pretty good summary of Rice’s work.