Solving Climate Change Could Be a Matter of Planting Trees

Could this sapling be the answer to our climate change woes? (Getty Images/sarayut)

There are about 3 trillion trees on Earth, but adding between 500 billion and 1.5 trillion more could help solve a big crisis on the horizon. New research in the journal Science proposes fighting climate change by planting enough new trees to cover 3.5 million square miles of land, or what the AP says is about the size of the entire United States.

The new trees could theoretically suck up about two-thirds of the carbon dioxide that humans have spewed into the atmosphere since the 1800s, what scientists call a “mind-blowing” amount, per the Guardian. Much of the carbon quashing would come fairly quickly after such a massive tree-planting, as younger trees take in more carbon than older ones. “This is by far—by thousands of times—the cheapest climate change solution,” and the most effective one, study co-author Thomas Crowther says.

The extra trees, which scientists estimate would cost around $300 billion, would also boost biodiversity, tamp down erosion, and help keep water clean. Whether the Earth has room for them is another matter, and researchers say yes, based on the 80,000 satellite pics they reviewed, along with data on what areas were conducive to tree growth.

The nations that researchers point to as having the most room to spare: the US and Russia, as well as Canada, Australia, Brazil, and China. Critics, however,  tell Mother Jones the plan is “unrealistic,” citing the ambiguity of what land would be available and the issue of how this restoration would affect agriculture. Still, Crowther says forest restoration is “overwhelmingly” the best way to put the kibosh on global warming, though he warns we should still keep trying to eliminate fossil fuels. “None of this works without emissions cuts,” he notes.

Edited via Newser.

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Posted by on July 6, 2019. Filed under NEWS I FIND INTERESTING. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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2 Responses to Solving Climate Change Could Be a Matter of Planting Trees

  1. jim Reply

    July 7, 2019 at 5:53 am

    Catastrophic climate events are happening almost everyday around the world now and we are going full speed ahead to extinction. Planting trees is akin to a lung cancer patient given six months to live and quits cigarettes but won’t change their diet. There is NO stopping the imminent catastrophes on the horizon. Can we slow it down even? I doubt it but it is always a good day to plant a trillion trees. The ONLY hope I have left is that we don’t go into full Venus mode and we get to evolve again into ? after this extinction event that we are witnessing. The collapse of insects this year is astounding here in the wetlands of Western Oregon. Bees, wasps, butterflies, even aphids are few and far between. And almost NO SLUGS in Oregon not just in the cities but in the forests too! My only point is that it is time to learn the lessons of love quickly.

  2. Bill Formby Reply

    July 11, 2019 at 10:36 am

    There is a Russian scientist than is working in Siberia above the Arctic Circle who is trying to save the permafrost by removing trees because the trees maintain too much warmth. According to his finding that even in the short summer months the permafrost in thawing as much as four to five feet below the surface. He said that if the permafrost continues the methane now trapped below the surface from decaying fossils would put an extreme amount of pressure on the climate change problem.

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