A new report indicates that food prices could increase five-fold by deploying carbon removing technology by 2050. This comes at a time when the global population is continuing to increase and there is a greater demand for food crops.
The technology in question is negative emissions technologies (NETs), which include direct air capture (DAC).
Negative emissions technology removes carbon emissions from the atmosphere. This helps lower global carbon emissions and is essential to meeting the Paris Agreements 1.5ºC climate goal, but it looks like it will have a serious impact on food supplies.
Why Do NETs affect Food Prices?
NETs are not small devices by any means. These things can take up space while also requiring large amounts of electricity and water to operate. And to meet the Paris Agreements goals, we need a lot of them.
This will end up taking up land that can be used for expanding the agricultural sector. Simply put, less farmland will be available because it will house NETs.
However, it is important to point out that these types of technologies are constantly innovating and improving.
For example, this report was based on liquid sorbent direct air capture technology. In reality, solid sorbent technology now exists and it does not require fresh water. And, it does not burn fossil fuel in any capacity.
Thus, the report is already dated.
CO2 Removal is Necessary
Carbon levels peaked in 2019 before COVID-19 brought the world to a standstill.
In 2019, the Earth’s atmosphere contained a staggering 412 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide. That’s 47% more carbon than when the industrial age began.
Thus, even if we are able to reduce our emissions, the damage has already been done. We need a way to remove the existing carbon from our atmosphere, and NETs allow us to do that.
And as technology is improved, made more affordable, and consume fewer resources, we can see it in widespread use.