News and Events

News and Events

Oxford Geoengineering Programme

Geoengineering Seminar Series Event: The Promise of Plants to 'Lock Away' Carbon

Wednesday 8th February 2012

Location: The Oxford Martin School

Seminar Summary:

Can we use plants to draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then lock it away in forms that will prevent it being re-released? Biochar and afforestation are two related geoengineering techniques that aim to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by growing biomass and storing it by converting it into a charcoal (biochar) or allowing the amount of biomass to accumulate (afforestation). This seminar involved three panelists who made brief presentations on the science of biochar, the climatological impacts of large-scale afforestation, and potential side-effects of large scale implementation of biochar as a means of carbon sequestration. These presentations were followed by a question and answer period with the audience and discussion amongst the participants.


  • Dr Ondrej Masek, Lecturer in Engineering Assessment of Biochar, UK Biochar Research Centre, University of Edinburgh
  • Almuth Ernsting, Co-Director, Biofuelwatch (Participated remotely via Webex from Scotland)
  • Dr Abigail Swann, Biology Department and Atmospheric Sciences Department, University of Washington (Participated remotely via Webex from Boston)

This event was part of a seminar series: “The science, governance and ethics of climate intervention techniques.”

To watch the recording of this event please visit our Webex site ( and click "View Event Recordings" in the upper right hand side of the window.

You can also read a review of this event here.

Website by Pandemedia