Many strategies nowadays, in efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, involve some sort of technology. New findings though suggest that there is an even better way that doesn’t involve technology. Scientists are saying that trees are our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change.
Trees are so effective, actually, that by replenishing the world’s forests on a grand scale, it would suck enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to cancel out a decade of human emissions. Ecologist Dr. Thomas Crowther discussed his findings at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Washington DC. He explained:
“There’s 400 gigatons now, in the 3 trillion trees, and if you were to scale that up by another trillion trees that’s in the order of hundreds of gigatons captured from the atmosphere – at least 10 years of anthropogenic emissions completely wiped out.”
It has been established (through global mapping information of open spaces around the world) that there is room for an additional 1.2 trillion trees to grow in parks, woods and abandoned land across the planet. Furthermore, if all of these trees are planted, it would outstrip every other method for tackling climate change – from building wind turbines to vegetarian diets.
Dr. Crowther says:
“We are not targeting urban or agricultural area, just degraded or abandoned lands, and it has the potential to tackle the two greatest challenges of our time – climate change and biodiversity loss…It’s a beautiful thing because everyone can get involved. Trees literally just make people happier in urban environments, they improve air quality, water quality, food quality, ecosystem service, it’s such an easy, tangible thing.”
In the light of Dr. Crowther’s findings, the United Nations changed the name of a project they are running from the Billion Tree Campaign to the Trillion Tree Campaign. This project has already seen 17 billion trees planted in suitable locations around the world.
Now, Australia is joining in on this mission with aims to plant a billion trees by 2050. It is part of a new forestry plan the government launched to help the country meet its Paris Agreement climate targets. The government estimates that the project will eventually remove 18 million tons of greenhouse gases per years by 2030.
This project will not only help the environment but help the economy as well. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a media statement that The Regional Forestry Hubs plan would also support jobs in a sector that contributes more than A$23 billion ($16.4 billion US) to the national economy. Morrison also stated that Australia will comfortably meet its Paris-agreed goal to reduce carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.