IPCC Geo-Engineering Schemes Are Not Environmental Saviors

Lili Fuhr, heads the Ecology and Sustainable Development Department at the Heinrich Böll Foundation, recently published an editorial titled, “Radical Realism About Climate Change” on Project-Syndicate.org.

In the piece, Fuhr argues that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agree with the merits of geo-engineering technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS) despite the new environmental hazards they may causing.

It sounds good. But what makes it economical is that it enables enhanced oil recovery. In other words, the only way to make CCS cost-effective is to use it to exacerbate the problem it is supposed to address.

The supposed savior technology – bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) – is not much better. BECCS begins by producing large amounts of biomass from, say, fast-growing trees which naturally capture CO2; those plants are then converted into fuel via burning or refining, with the resulting carbon emissions being captured and sequestered.

But bioenergy is not carbon neutral, and the surge in European demand for biomass has led to rising food commodity prices and land grabs in developing countries. These realities helped persuade the scientists Kevin Anderson and Glen Peters recently to call carbon removal an “unjust and high-stakes gamble.”

Read the full article “Radical Realism About Climate Change” on Project-Syndicate.org.

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