Can Planting Billions Of Trees Halt Climate Change?

Can Planting Billions Of Trees Halt Climate Change?


The world is burning. In California alone, some 3 million
acres have burned since 2017. Since the beginning of 2019, there have
been more than 121,000 fires in Brazil, and more than half of those
have been in the Amazon rainforest. These fires cost the planet trees,
which help fight climate change. The 2018 wildfire season in California
is estimated to have released about 68 million tons of carbon
dioxide into the atmosphere. That’s roughly fifteen percent of
all emissions in California. In short, one of the world’s best
defenses against climate change is being destroyed at an alarming rate. A recent study from the Swiss
Federal Institute for Technology, ETH Zurich, says reforestation of forested lands
at a global scale could help capture atmospheric carbon and
mitigate climate change. According to the study, 0.9 billion hectares of land worldwide are
available to be reforested and one hectare is the equivalent of 2.47 acres. In short, 0.9 billion hectares is an area the
size of the United States. It’s enough space to plant more than
one trillion trees, and the resulting carbon capture, according to the study,
would be more than 200 gigatons. That’s about 32 percent of human
carbon emissions since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In fact, after the study was
first published, articles appeared with headlines like ‘Tree planting has
mindblowing potential to tackle climate change’. Simply put, trees
capture carbon dioxide. “My first reaction was, wow,
wouldn’t that be wonderful? And actually, in a way, goes back
to some earlier studies that show that, you know, there are probably less than
half the trees growing in the world right now than we’re growing, say,
after the Ice Age retreated.” Bill Moomaw is professor emeritus
of international environmental policy at Tufts University. He spent 20 years of his
career looking at technological solutions to climate change. A forest of 50-year-old
oak trees, for example, would absorb or sequester about 30000
pounds of CO2 per acre. You’ve probably heard of
the greenhouse effect. It’s what happens when heat radiating
from earth gets trapped in the atmosphere. “This isn’t something that we’re
going to be seeing in the distant future. Climate
change is happening. Humans are responsible for climate change
and CO2 emissions that are causing climate change to happen, along
with emissions of methane from agriculture and oil
and gas activities. To some extent, emissions of nitrous
oxide gases that come from agricultural practices primarily. Certain gases exacerbate the problem,
such as methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons and of
course, carbon dioxide. Moomaw maintains that while planting trees
is one part of the solution, that alone won’t stop climate change. “We should simultaneously reduce our emissions
as much as possible, as rapidly as possible. That means that the energy sector
and the industrial sector into agriculture and everything
you can imagine.” NASA has several initiatives to
track climate change or carbon sequestration, the process of absorbing and
storing carbon over a long period of time. For example,
the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation mission is a laser based on
the International Space Station, one that measures canopy height and forest
structure around the world. And there’s also ICEsat, which measures
the elevation of ice surfaces. And there’s Landsat, which monitors
where deforestation or regrowth is happening. While the evidence for climate
change seems clear, there’s no consensus for how to deal with it. Some have argued for carbon taxes, which
would tax fossil fuels as a means of reducing emissions. Others have suggested a complete
overhaul in agricultural and livestock practices. But planting trees is something
almost everyone can agree is beneficial to the planet. But would it really
help fight climate change? That part is far more controversial. While the ETH Zurich study
says there are 0.9 billion hectares of land available for
planting, there is little chance all of it will ever
be used for that purpose. Much of the available land is
on private property, so private landowners would have to be convinced to do the
planting and a great deal of that land is used for farming and grazing
or beef cattle and dairy cows. Reforestation also requires
careful planning. For example, too many trees in
northern forests and warming could be exacerbated. That’s because too many trees
block winter snows in winter snows reflect sunlight. At the same time, trees absorb
the heat without redirecting it. And that can create
a local warming effect. “Let’s make sure we plant
them in the right way. Let’s make some decisions about which
species we’re going to plant. Let’s not plant. Let’s let’s focus
on on native species rather than bringing in other species.” The Amazon rainforest is enormous. It covers more than 2 million square
miles, including a large chunk of northwestern Brazil and extends to
Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, French
Guiana and Suriname. Since January, more than 121,000 fires
have ravaged Brazil, with more than half of those burning in
the country’s Amazon rainforest. Many of them were set as a
result of slash and burn agriculture. Farmers burned the land to create
space for crops and grazing. And it could get worse,
especially under current President Jair Bolsonaro’s aggressive land
use policies. The country lost 53.8 million hectares of tree cover
from 2001 to 2018. That’s a 10 percent
decrease since 2000. And deforestation is harmful
in another way. When a tree is cut down, it
releases captured CO2 back into the atmosphere. NASA estimates between 15 and
20 percent of carbon emissions each year come from deforestation. Much of the deforested lands in Brazil
was planted over with soybeans or used for cattle grazing. About 80 percent of Amazon’s deforestation
is due to cattle ranching. In fact, Brazil is now among the
world’s biggest soy and beef exporters. Meanwhile, President Bolsonaro, who was a
climate change skeptic, is not inclined to stop
deforestation anytime soon. Since he took office, his
administration has cut Brazil’s Environmental Protection Agency budget
by 24 percent. He’s fired the director of the
National Institute for Space Research, the agency that tracks rainforest activity, and
he’s eliminated a number of fines for environmental damage. Still, earlier this year, Bolton
R-OH told the U.N. the Brazilian rainforest remains
pristine and virtually untouched. But really, Brazil lost more than
five thousand two hundred square miles of rainforest in 2018. That’s an area roughly
the size of Connecticut. Aside from saving the planet, there
are sound fiscal reasons for planting trees around the world. In 2015,
Citigroup estimated the cost of not taking action to fight climate change
would be 44 trillion dollars by 2016. Citigroup went on to say
that incremental costs of action are limited, offer reasonable returns on investment
and should not have too detrimental an effect
on global growth. Adding renewable energy
and improving efficiency. The study found, may actually
boost the global economy. There’s also another issue to consider
and that single use paper products, paper napkins, tissues,
diapers, toilet paper. I mean, we’re flushing we’re
flushing forests down the toilet. Literally reinforce sustainability has even
brought a number of new business opportunities as well and range
from one that manages sustainable timber plantation to a company that works
with smaller farmers to one that sells beverages made
from rainforest products. BioCarbon engineering was started by
a former NASA employee, Lauren Fletcher. The company uses drone technology
to reforest on a large scale by firing seeds into
the ground to people. Planting trees can plants up
to three thousand a day. But a team operating 10 drones
can plant up to 400,000. The company estimated revenues for 2020
of nearly 100 million dollars. Another called Guayaquil Sustainable Rainforest
Products, has created a market in the US around drink, made
from here yerba mate a species from the Holly family. The drink is
popular in Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay and southern Brazil and has been
adapted to American tastes. More than 600 social media stars
recently raised over 16 million dollars to plant trees all over the world. The effort was spearheaded by YouTube
star Jimmy Donaldson, who’s also known as Mr. Beast. Donaldson post videos of stunts performed
by himself and his friends. Donaldson was challenged by a fan
to plant 20 million trees. It was part of the
hashtag Team Trees Project. The program raised over five million dollars
in two days and all donations went directly to the Arbor Day
Foundation, a non-profit organization that plants trees. Even Elon Musk committed to
donating a million trees to the project. The planting is slated to begin
in January and should be finished in three years. In July, Ethiopia planted
more than 350 3 million trees in just 12 hours. The idea was to meet with the
country calls its hashtag Green Legacy goal, a program instituted by
prime minister be met. Ethiopia’s efforts surpassed India’s 2017
initiative, which planted 66 million trees in a single day. There’s also the bond challenge, which
intends to plant 864 million acres of trees by 2030. And the Nature Conservancy has its own
plant, a billion trees effort under way. The program was launched in 2008
and it was originally intended to bring back Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. It’s since expanded to the U.S., Mexico and China. And so what’s needed is a
comprehensive monitoring program where we can look at the changes in land cover. We can estimate the associated changes
in carbon that’s being removed from the atmosphere and then scale this globally
or over long periods of time. Let’s make sure that that
carbon removal is permanent. Reforestation efforts are also a major
part of the Paris climate agreement, which President Trump just
formally moved to end U.S. participation. The withdrawal will be complete at
the end of 2020 in the Paris Climate Agreement. A handful of key countries, including
Brazil, Indonesia, Peru and the United States committed to intensifying
efforts to protect forests because while it doesn’t take long to
destroy forests, replacing them can take decades. The most important thing is
to slow down or stop deforestation and conserve our existing forests. The second is then to identify
the areas that have been recently deforested and go about
restoring those ecosystems. And then the third is to
very carefully consider the forestation options that are in the context of
how those might affect land tenure, biodiversity and food security.

100 thoughts on “Can Planting Billions Of Trees Halt Climate Change?

  1. 350 MILLION TREES IN 12HRS" yea right Ethiopia your populations only 119 million, of which many of those are probably not able-bodied to plant trees

  2. Planting trees to decrease CO2 levels produced by industry is laughable. Do a little reading before you fall for this. Just Google how much CO2 does a tree consume then Google how my CO2 does a decomposing tree produce. Then Google how much CO2 does a volcanic eruption produce. Then go outside and do something productive.

  3. Carbon dioxide does NOT CAUSE CLIMATE CHANGE. GET A BLOODY EDUCATION . CARBON DIOXIDE IS A PLANT FOOD. THERE IS NO CLIMATE CRISIS AND NO ACCELERATING SEA LEVEL RISE. THE GLOBAL WARMING HOAX IS THE WORST CORRUPTION OF SCIENCE IN HISTORY. CLIMATE CHANGE IS A NATURAL ONGOING PROCESS, AND IS COMPLETELY BEYOND OUR CONTROL. HUMANS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. THIS VIDEO IS A LOAD OF RUBBISH. THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT HAS BEEN PROVEN TO BE NOT A FACTOR IN CLIMATE CHANGE. STOP PUSHING THIS CORRUPT RUBBISH. THE PLANET IS PRESENTLY GREENING.

  4. Tell us about all the forest/trees found at the bottom of melted glaciers that only carbon date to 800 years ago .

  5. I’m feeling a little guilty for playing and loving Mudrunners which basically it’s about carrying lumbers to lumber mills.

  6. simple answer is yes and its the best and cheapest way to do so! All lefties climate change moron will go crazy when you talk about that solution! Because their lobby wont make money !

  7. Thanks for explaining this. All my students ever write in their tests is to 'plant more trees' and I try my hardest to explain – its not that simple. I think they just don't care! They're more interested in fake tans, music and YouTube makeup tutorials.

  8. Sooo, all the tree burning released CO2 that was originally in the atmosphere but had been sequestered in wood… hmmm, what was the atmospheric CO2 content during the Cambrian era? You know that point in earths history where life exploded in quantity and diversity. 4000ppm? 5000ppm? 7000ppm? Where do you think all that evil oil, coal and natural gas came from? From plants… that took it out of the atmosphere. Any idea what the atmospheric CO2 content is today? About 380ppm. Benjamin, you speak with authority… you just don’t have any idea what you’re talking about…

  9. Plant a trillion trees? Don't big trees make little trees all by themselves? It's called seeds. Forest fires are a normal occurrence that nature uses to rejuvenate the forest. Kills off deadwood and insect infestations. Many trees like the jack pine actually need a forest fire for that trees cones to release their seeds. It is the fact that peoples homes are being destroyed in these forest fires that is the big issue. First off the indigenous tribe's never built settlements in these areas that were prone to fast-moving forest fires in places in California. They knew how fast the fires moved in these areas. Why not have experts come up with a plan to cut back some of the forests if you want to put in home developments? Maintained fire breaks? Emergency sprinkler systems? There have to be ways to protect these communities that are in fire-prone areas.

  10. can't hurt. and if you use them to make bags for supermarket, it keeps on giving by getting plastic/fossil carbon out of the stores.

  11. The simple answer is "No". CO2 is not even a "greenhouse gas", because the science is invalid. See why here, https://www.climatesciencejournal.com/invalidity-of-greenhous-gas-thy/
    The answer is understanding, not blind acceptance of peer-review (aka pseudo-science). Peer review means that if some group simply endorses a perspective, you are supposed to not review it yourself. You instead are asked to suspend your judgement, and rely upon others entirely.
    Because of the internet, you have all the knowledge in the world 2 minutes away, for you to discover and verify yourself. Learn to form your own opinions, study some physics, and you will find out why these climate alarmists are promoting peer-review cults. That's what it means to have an education–to be able to think for yourself.
    Galileo failed peer review so miserably he was given house arrest for the rest of his life. He showed that peer review was wrong, and that just by testing ideas against reality, i.e., experiment, people could challenge and figure out scientific knowledge better than peers .
    Down with peer-review, up with self-education!

  12. Ok fist lets take a look at cities like say Los angeles , new york , bejing, were if you come from the country side you can visibly see the air polution tho much less new york tho still visible how would we fix that were there are many people and no room to plant trees what then we plant trees on the roofs and make them use solar power?

  13. If it is true that there is a catastrophic impact in the offing, keeping oil in the ground will not be such an easy thing to do with a world population as large as it is today (and increasing) unless we dramatically convert to nuclear power. More hydro electricity, wind power, solar power, clean gas, and other types will certainly help and I hope we do much more of those, but to significantly replace the enormous amount of energy oil provides, nuclear power seems like the most likely candidate to reduce the impact of climate change in the time frame required.

  14. Why trees ..hemp grows faster and can be used for all paper products .it will rebuild air and soil ..plant both but use hemp for the paper or well every

  15. Planting a trillion trees will drawdown 200 Gt of CO2. Since we are putting up the equivalent of 50 Gt of CO2 worth of greenhouse gases a year, that's about four years worth of emissions at the current rate. In other words, it's a good idea but it's no "solution". Here's a solution: http://citizensclimatelobby.org/basics-carbon-fee-dividend
    It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in twelve years and 90 percent in thirty, while protecting household purchasing power, helping the poor, and bringing in all other countries to participate as well. Tell Congress you want action now: http://cclusa.org/write or http://cclusa.org/call/.

  16. We would need too many trees for the space we have available for forestry.
    Agro-forestry, vertical farming but especially producing fast growing crops like Miscanthus , bamboo or hemp would make more sense, if they would be grown for ressource and raw material production sustainably.

  17. Something that everyone can do is install ecosia. The work they do and effort and planning they put into planting trees is really something that no one can deny.

  18. We need more GREEN ROOFs that can sustain trees on top of our home. For every home built on a land, there is a tree growing on top of it. The solution is already there, just need innovative housing plan to be adopted in a mass scale.

  19. Plz take a look at Pakistan's reforestation initiatives we planted more than 1billion trees in last 5years now goal for the next 5 years is to plant 10 billion trees..

  20. Politicians don’t care since it doesn’t effect there breathing there housing and it means loosing money. It’s something that they can’t profit so they put it aside and let individuals and future personal take care of it as much as you don’t want to bring political views I to this you have too. For this to change something has to effect them Brazil can burn down and they’ll seem to want to do something but in reality there houses are fine air seems fine why bother waist billions on this to make “the people” happy. For this to change clean the air stop oil companies just planting trees won’t save the world.

  21. Climate change is natural process and humans can't stop it or change it or if fact have any influence on it. Climate change is a bulshit used by rich people to become richer

  22. It may or may not halt climate change, but so long as you are planting indigenous species, I doubt it can do much harm, which is a better track record than most of our endeavors.

  23. Don’t know about planting billions of trees but getting rid of billions of greedy gluttonous waste of space “people” sure would do it.

  24. Not realistic. But go ahead, ill support it. How many trees can you plant per year? If every house owner purchased 1-air cleaning plant it would be a huge start.

  25. Sure. If we plant about 20 million ever day… also what happens to that carbon after those trees die? Safe to say not all of it gets turned back into coal, it’ll just be re-released into the atmosphere.

  26. The IPCC states what has actually been observed over the last 170 years is about 1C of warming and 340mm of sea level rise (13.4 inches), which is neither catastrophic or extreme. The claims of future catastrophic change are nothing more than speculation based on models that have failed miserably at predicting climate. It was warmer 1000, 2000 and 7000 years ago than today, while CO2 levels were significantly lower and all during periods well before humans began burning fossil fuels. From about 12000 years ago to about 7000 years ago the earth warmed dramatically coming out of the most recent glaciation period… sea levels rose about 400 feet over that time. This was an immense period of natural warming and sea level increase all while CO2 remained relatively low. How can one explain this without acknowledging that CO2 cannot be the primary driver of the earth's complex and chaotic climate.

  27. If you got past the 6th grade you probably learned about plant photosynthesis. Plants need sunlight, water and CO2 to grow. All life on this planet is carbon based. CO2 is the primary source of carbon for life. CO2 is essential for life. If CO2 levels fall below 150 ppm (parts per million), plants cannot survive. If plants cannot survive, animals and humans will struggle to survive. For most of earth's 4.7 billion year history, CO2 levels have been dramatically higher than today. Most modern plants evolved during periods when CO2 was 3 to 5 times higher, and consider the current climate to be in a CO2 drought. Plants have pores they open to absorb CO2, in our low CO2 climate they need to open them often more of to absorb sufficient CO2. Every time they open, vapor escapes… as a result plants are far more water efficient in higher levels of CO2, and less water efficient in lower CO2. Plants are more drought resilient in higher levels of CO2. Corn, wheat, rice and other course grain yields have increased 300% over the last 60 years do to the little bit of extra CO2 in the atmosphere. India is now a net exporter of wheat, they cannot eat all the wheat the produce. When you drive in your car you are experiencing significantly higher levels of CO2 than exist in the atmosphere. Each human emits about 800 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere each year simply by breathing. We exhale about 100 times the amount of CO2 we absorbed when inhaling. Mother Nature emits significantly more CO2 than humans do by burning fossil fuels. The oceans, which cover 70% of the earth continually emit it from vast deposits of naturally dissolved CO2, natural fires, volcanoes and decaying plant life continually emit it… and of course breathing animals including humans emit it. Life thrives near the warm equator and struggles near the cold poles. During the Cambrian period (the Cambrian Explosion) when an explosion of life burst onto the earth 500 million years ago it was significantly warmer and CO2 levels were 5 times what they are today. CO2 is essential for life. Pick up a science book some time.

  28. Our global politic won’t do what needs to be done (in time) before the climate crisis kills all of us.

    Basically, we’re all going to die.

  29. There's a really cool search engine that plants trees, called "Ecosia ". It lets you know how many trees it has planted on the main search engine page. And if you get the app, which is free, it shows you how many trees your searches alone have planted.Tell more people! Here is the link: www.ecosia.org

  30. No – even planting those billion(s) is trees will use fossil fuels that will in return have its own feedback loop.

    The best way to stop climate change: STOP LIVING THE WAY WE DO.

  31. FAKE NEWS!
    Global Warming is a HOAX. Climate is ruled by sun cycles.
    The Amazon has seen natural burning seasons since ever, and this year it was quite the normal level.
    Do your research and see that NGOs have been found to set fire to the jungle to promote this globalist agenda. Pople have been arrested this week.
    Bolsonaro is doing the best work ever in protecting the forest. You know nothing about Brazil.
    Amazon trees consume at night all the oxygen they produce during the day. This is basic science.
    Oxygen is mostly produced by the sea biome.
    Of course trees are nice and good for health and animal life, but please do your homework.

  32. Here's a question. Is the fact that corporations are taking the ground water and selling it back to the public for profit, having anything to do with forest fires? Drying up the ground?

  33. Wrong question to ask. Can we first stop the mass burning of fossil fuels? Without doing that, they would die anyway.
    Lastly, the forests are being cut down, burned. I would say we would need to stop doing that first. Right?
    The question is just somewhat nonsensical in nature. But the answer is a definite no.

  34. Only 33% USA, 12% of UK and even less Western Europe is covered in forest and yet Westerners are very vocal about tree clearing in other countries with more forest cover. Maybe you Westerners should plant more tree and stop being more selfish hypocritical.

  35. Planting trees is good for the environment but human emissions is just one variable that causes climate change. Hoping people would listen more to randall Carlson he explains this thoroughly based on facts and research.

  36. I think we should plant 10 billion 🌲 or as many as we can can't hurt we're just cutting them down and burn this planet alive

  37. If you can plant food forest/permaculture in your front and back yard. After a few years it doesn't need much work and you could help feed yourselves and be the beginning of a ecosystem/mini carbon sink years from now!

  38. Bolsonaro isn't a sceptic, hes a denier.
    Sceptic makes it sound reasonable, which it is not.

    He is also guilty of massive crimes against humanity, and every day he isn't dangling from a tree is worse for it.

  39. Using Solar geoengineering should not and will not be are solution, Im trying to put an important statement out there that climate change is a huge problem, We pesky humans are too lazy, uneducated, and have no feelings toward are planet, a planet that has no replacement amongst the billions of distant astronomical objects out there, we are a 1 in over a quadrillion, and yet we seem to blind to see that what happens now is going to change are future and end it quick, Earth has had life for millions of years, and yet our short existence here has done messed up more than enough. If we want Climate Change to an end, then I suppose, Billions of people to come together and too really work as a team to end extinction, overpopulation, climate change, pollution, and all the worldy problems, Because Climate Change is just a small problem in our big world.

    -GS

  40. It's funny how people talk about climate change being "a hoax by the government to steal our money" when the government is being run by people that deny climate change and are doing the complete opposite…lmao. It's oil companies lobbying and advertising this bs so that boomers will latch onto it and make sure nothing ever stops them from selling more oil.

  41. I'll plant as many as I can on my property. When I have more money I'll buy more property and plant more trees. But I'm only one man.

  42. Didn't China start this big a few dacades ago?
    May be Aussis should look at this as they are the worst poluter per person in the world.

  43. Being a total negative here, why dont we let them do this stuff (except fire in the forest and something that must be avoided). When the tree is really at the point where it really in danger. At one point, the people that cut trees for living still need trees. So….

    Being another total negative here, 7 billion people in earth still produce alot of carbon dioxide. I GUESS WE SHOULD COMMIT NO BREATHING THEN.

  44. Planting trees that are later lost to agriculture or fire achieves nothing, we need to plant sustainable forests ie: not in California.

  45. Bolsonoro is Brazil's Trump. Ignorant, short sighted, greedy and corrupt. The answers to slowing climate change begin there. With this kind of reprehensible morally bankrupt men in charge, reforestation won't do anything to cancel out their negative impact on this failing society. They accept that we will go extinct on this planet and they do not care. Change starts with Empathy, Accountability and Integrity in all humanity.

  46. Let's face it we make so many species extinct we cut down so many trees and we will never stop we are and will die soon

  47. Ohh watch out everyone the Earth is melting, we're all going to die 😂 just like all these other world ending disasters that were predicted to happen decade after mf decade…..oh they didn't

  48. Ok. You plant a a tree and it takes some carbon out from the atmosphere. What happens when the tree dies? It releases that carbon.
    If you take carbon below ground and release it into the atmosphere. Using trees to temporarily store some of it is not really going to do much in the long run.
    Planting trees has other benefits though so it is a good thing.

  49. ¿yerba mate being popular in paraguay, chile, uruguay and brasil? ¿¿¿what about argentina??? here its more sacred than the holy bible.

  50. Until we humans turn to plant based diet there would always be stress on more land for feeding animals which we eat.
    It seems hillarious when people can't give up on eating meat and protest Amazon forest destruction.
    The Amazon forest is destroyed to grow crops to feed cattle which we humans eat.
    If all humans turn to plant based food more than 80% of land would be freed thus no additional land would ever be destroyed and the 80% of farmland can be reforested

  51. 85% of the earths oxygen comes from the algea in the sea. Methane seeping up from the sea bottom promotes the growth of the plankton, and creates a cooling effect as well,

    https://www.usgs.gov/news/ocean-absorption-carbon-dioxide-more-makes-methane-emissions-seafloor-methane-seeps

  52. Climate change is occurring as a result of turning our backs on Christianity we are only seeing the beginning of many sorrows

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