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Reversing climate change with carbon-sucking plantations not realistic, scientists warn

A proposal to turn back climate change by planting vast swathes of land with fast-growing trees and plants that can be burned for electricity, with the carbon they release captured and stored, is not "realistic and feasible," scientists said Thursday.

The idea, included in many economic and science models on how the world might try to reverse runaway climate change, cannot serve as an emergency back-up if the world fails to rapidly switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy and then regrets the consequences, said scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

"The danger is it's being sold as a realistic and feasible option. But in reality one should think about the decarbonization problem without thinking of this as a real option," said Wolfgang Lucht, one of the authors of a report published Thursday in the journal Earth's Future.

Planting wasteland, "but also large tracts of farmland or natural forests with plants to produce electricity has been regarded as a comparatively safe, affordable and effective way to suck excess carbon out of the atmosphere and reduce runaway climate impacts," researchers said.


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