29 December 2023

Enacting biochar as a climate solution in Denmark

Environmental Science and Policy cover

Postdoc Inge-Merete Hougaard has recently published the article 'Enacting biochar as a climate solution in Denmark' in the journal Environmental Science and Policy.

Following the Paris Agreement’s climate targets and the modelling community’s scenarios of how to reach them, carbon dioxide removal is gaining increasing importance in national climate policies. This is also the case in Denmark, where biochar is envisioned to cover 10% of the 2030 reduction goal. However, apart from research experiments and test sites, biochar is at the time of research not employed in Denmark, raising the question how it came to constitute a large part of the national goal.

Inge-Merete Hougard’s article explores how biochar, as a method for carbon removal, comes into being as a relevant solution in Danish climate policy, and what this means for emission reduction efforts.

Through document analysis, participatory observation, field visits and semi-structured interviews, she employs the framework of the dramaturgical regime and analyse how biochar is enacted as a climate solution through policy documents, conferences, media and network meetings. She uses the concept of enactment to indicate that different people’s actions are not overtly coordinated, and the effects of such actions are not necessarily fully intentional, but they are nevertheless political.

She argues that through different scientific, administrative, political, and media practices, biochar is enacted as a viable climate solution that enables the continuation of current forms of production and consumption. As biochar likely substitutes for emission reductions and is in risk of failing to deliver the anticipated amount of carbon removals, the enactment of biochar as a climate solution in Danish climate policy possibly constitutes a case of mitigation deterrence.

Read the article open access at ScienceDirects website.