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February 21, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Conference Room 102

Lancaster County Government Center
150 N Queen Street

Lancaster, PA 17603
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Webinar: Harnessing Photosynthesis for a Carbon Negative Bioeconomy

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Please join us for a screening of a Penn State Land Use webinar. Attendance is in-person only.

Harnessing Photosynthesis for a Carbon Negative Bioeconomy

Climate change is upon us. Catastrophic fires in Canada and out west, deadly heat waves in the south, floods across our region… the list goes on. The impacts on ecosystems and human systems are already tragic and getting worse. Decarbonization is all the rage but falls woefully short of the need. Wind, solar, and energy efficiency provide important emission reduction benefits, but at best they can achieve zero emissions. With fossil fuel use continuing at excessive rates, the world needs negative carbon strategies.

Humans have always relied on plants for food and fiber, but we have been slow to realize how important plants can be for solving the climate challenge. Every year plants take ten times as much carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere as all fossil fuel emissions combined. Photosynthesis is a three-billion-year-old biotechnology that uses solar energy to collect dilute CO2 from the air and concentrate it into high carbon, energy rich materials. The carbon that plants capture can be used to store carbon in soils and ecosystems, be manufactured into construction materials, furniture and bioplastics, or be stored safely deep in the earth. By 2070 the world will need to “drawdown” as much carbon dioxide as residual fossil fuels emit. There are many pathways by which this can be achieved, including biofuels and bioelectricity, coupled with regenerative agriculture and forestry to generate the biomass we need.

Pennsylvania and our region are blessed with abundant forests and productive agricultural lands. Recarbonization through a growing bioeconomy can offer great hope and opportunity for sustainable agriculture and forestry.

This webinar will share how supportive land use policies, technology development, and knowledge sharing, our agriculture, food and forest systems can provide the foundation for a bioeconomy that provides regional economic growth, and play a tremendous role in solving the climate challenge.


- Tom Richard, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Penn State University


- Peter Wulfhorst, Penn State Extension

AICP Credits: 1.25 ASLA Credits: 1.25

Group viewing brought to you by Lancaster County Planning.

Lancaster County Planning strives to provide educational opportunities for our planning partners – professional planners, municipalities, consultants, designers, engineers, local planning commissions, and interested citizens. In 2024, we will continue to provide an opportunity for our partners to join us at our office to view a mix of live and recorded webinars we have purchased or registered for from various sources on a variety of planning topics. Many of these programs will provide AICP CM and ASLA continuing education credits. Due to site license restrictions, we are not able to share our webinar access information with interested parties. For independent access, please contact the webinar provider directly.

For questions related to this event, please contact 717-299-8333 or email

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