The home run we need: Biocarbon

RBI.  I’m a baseball fanatic -- especially in playoff season -- and I was hoping that our new program could have that acronym.  

RBI means ‘runs batted in’ – in baseball, that’s delivering on the bottom line. In our world today, the challenges aren’t quite so simple.  The best solutions make sense from all the bases -- we need to kick-start the economy, create jobs, use less energy, beautify our communities and pull carbon pollution in the atmosphere back to earth. That’s what the Northwest Bicarbon Initiative (NBI) is all about.

When we founded Climate Solutions in 1998, clean energy was nowhere among the priorities of our top political and business leaders. Today, clean energy has moved from the obscure fringe to a real place at the heart of the conversation about how we rebuild economic prosperity for the decades to come. 

A clean energy technology revolution is necessary – but it’s not sufficient – to solve the global climate crisis we face. We also need Biocarbon, “the Second Solution”, to scale up the capacity of Earth’s living systems to soak up carbon and  successfully reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) in our planet’s atmosphere to the safe level of 350 parts per million.  

Biocarbon is the carbon stored in the world’s trees, plants and soils. As plant life on our planet grows through photosynthesis, it naturally draws CO2 out of the atmosphere, storing the carbon in its growing tissues. Plant life absorbs carbon from the atmosphere like a sponge absorbs water, helping reduce the CO2 pollution load that is destabilizing our climate.

The Northwest Biocarbon Initiative aims to galvanize our region’s top biocarbon innovators – farmers, foresters, community leaders, and thinkers – to demonstrate the essential role that natural systems can play in ensuring long-term climate stability, and to develop catalytic, world-class initiatives to build the biocarbon economy.  We are partnered in NBI with several of the Northwest’s leading conservation organizations who see this effort as a logical extension of our region’s rich natural resource heritage and our history of groundbreaking innovation in business, public policy, and stewardship.  A worldwide biocarbon transition is necessary; NBI is positioning our region to show the way.

Want to learn more about biocarbon and the NBI?:

  • Follow us on Facebook for the latest developments and news on the biocarbon solution.
  •  Watch these two amazing videos profiling cutting-edge Northwest biocarbon innovators: John Aeschliman, an extraordinary no-till farmer in Colfax, Washington who has broken new ground by not breaking ground; and Rich Hunter who works for a wastewater utility in Oregon’s Washington County that developed a cheaper, all-natural alternative to installing a gigantic power-sucking chiller.  

I think you’ll agree these stories load the bases with the kind of climate change solutions that make good economic sense, enhance our communities, and drive in runs for our children’s future.   

Author Bio

Rhys Roth

Director, Center for Sustainable Infrastructure, Climate Solutions

Rhys Roth co-founded Climate Solutions in 1998, and left the organization in July 2013 to create the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure.

To connect with the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure, contact Rhys Roth at or 360-867-6906.

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