Obvious & Low-cost Responses to the Perceived Climate Change Threat

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Obvious & Low-cost Responses to the Perceived Climate Change Threat

As trees grow, they absorb and store carbon dioxide emissions while releasing oxygen.  In fact, a new study published in the journal Science found that restoring the world’s forests on an unprecedented scale would be “the best climate change solution available.”  The new research proposes a worldwide planting program that could remove two-thirds of all the emissions from human activities that remain in the atmosphere today, a figure the scientists describe as “mind-blowing”.

The analysis found that there are 1.7 billion hectares of treeless land on which 1.2 trillion native tree saplings would naturally grow.  (There are 2.47 acres in one hectare) That area represents 11% of the world’s land area and is equivalent to the size of the United States and China combined.  Under this plan, many tropical areas would have 100% tree cover, while other areas would be more sparsely covered.  This means that, on average, about half the world’s land area would be under a tree canopy.

The scientists at the Swiss university, ETH Zürich, specifically excluded urban areas from their analysis as well as all fields used to grow crops.  But they did include grazing land, on which the researchers say a few additional trees per hectare will also benefit sheep and cattle.

As Professor Tom Crowther who led the research argues, “This new quantitative evaluation shows [that forest] restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one.” Crowther goes on to say, “What blows my mind is the scale.  I thought restoration would be in the top 10, but it is overwhelmingly more powerful than any of the other climate change solutions proposed.” 

Interestingly, planting billions of trees across the world is one of the biggest and cheapest ways of taking CO2out of the atmosphere and resolving the alleged climate crisis.  Furthermore, these trees could be planted without encroaching on cropland or urban areas.

So, regardless of whether you think anthropogenic climate change is an existential threat to civilization or merely “a small price to pay for a more affluent world,” more trees represent the kind of affordable adaptation that makes sense.  And while it’s a big challenge, the idea of reforesting much of the world isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound.

Consider the facts.

Since the dawn of agriculture, humans have cut down three trillion trees, which is about half the trees on Earth...

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