"The problem is that the Paris deal is built on the assumption that highly speculative technologies are going to save us from climate catastrophe; specifically one called BECCS, or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. The idea behind BECCS is to grow massive tree plantations around the world to absorb CO2 out of the air, then harvest the trees, convert them into pellets, burn them in power stations for energy, capture the CO2 that's emitted from the smokestacks and store it deep under the ground. Voila: net-negative emissions.
But BECCS has never been proven at scale; it is science fiction. In order to work as the Paris deal hopes, it would require plantations covering two to three times the size of India - a third of the planet's arable land. Not only would this make it impossible to feed the world's population, it would also be an ecological disaster. A team of researchers led by German scientist Vera Heck has found that BECCS would trigger a 10 percent loss of global forest cover and a 7 percent loss in biodiversity. It also risks driving further water scarcity, soil depletion, and chemical loading into ecosystems.
In other words, BECCS might help with climate change, but only by pushing us into other crises."
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