Carbon neutrality – a new guidance note for municipalities around the world


Newswise – How to design effective demonstration areas for urban carbon sequestration? In the latest guidance note, research groups from the University of Helsinki and Aalto University focus on the main principles of urban demonstration areas using biochars for carbon sequestration.

In addition, the guidance note provides lessons learned from a process of co-creating one of these parks, Hyväntoivonpuisto, in Helsinki, Finland.

In order to achieve carbon neutrality goals in the next 20 years, municipalities around the world must increasingly apply negative emissions technologies. Long-term negative carbon emissions technologies, such as biochars, will be increasingly important in the future, as the carbon in biomass is attached to them for hundreds to thousands of years. This results from the high amount of aromatic carbon forms in biochar resulting from heating otherwise rapidly degradable biomass under oxygen-free conditions. Biomass, for example municipal green waste chips, which is heated without oxygen to temperatures of around 500 ° C, will be much more difficult for microbes to break down than if the same biomass were added directly to the soil.

The joint research team led by the professor Mikko Jalas at Aalto University with the AgriChar team, led by Adj. Professor Priit Tammeorg at the University of Helsinki found that demonstration sites of urban carbon sinks in public parks must be safe, visible and scientifically sound for reliable and cost-effective verification of carbon sequestration.

“The guidance note also shows that different interests can be arbitrated and that the synergy that emerges from the co-creation of urban carbon sink parks between stakeholders, i.e. scientists, municipal officials , businesses and citizens, can result in demonstration areas with maximum potential for impact, dissemination and taking into account the principles of scientific experimentation ”, says lead author of the guidance note Priit Tammeorg from the AgriChar research group at the University of Helsinki.

Tammeorg continues, “Raising public awareness of carbon sequestration is one of the key objectives of urban carbon sink parks. The parks themselves, no matter how well planned, will have only a very limited capacity to absorb carbon – so it is very important to inspire people to carry out their own actions elsewhere – in private gardens or summer chalets. We hope that these guidelines will help cities around the world to be inspired!

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