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Why it might be better to mine the world's rainforests than farm them

Some 6,732 sq km of Indonesian forest has been granted to nickel mining concessions, a coalition of environmental groups wrote in a July letter to Tesla Inc.

Brazil amazon rainforest

Much of the world’s reserves of nickel, an essential metal for making electric-vehicle batteries, lie under the rainforests of Southeast Asia. (Photo: Unsplash)

David Fickling | Bloomberg
As if the world’s rainforests didn’t have enough problems to contend with, even the transition to zero-carbon power is threatening to level them.
Industrial mining ate up 3,265 square kilometers (1,260 square miles) of tropical forest between 2002 and 2019, according to a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Some 80% of that total happened in just four countries: Indonesia, Brazil, Ghana and Suriname.

With the COP27 climate conference in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh next week expected to increase the focus on the climate needs of developing countries, that’s raised concerns that

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First Published: Oct 31 2022 | 8:07 AM IST

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