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A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife, and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday. James Temple, senior editor for energy at MIT Technology Review, summed up the view of many experts in a January 28 piece when he wrote: “It’s great that trees are having a moment. Warmer winters have contributed to a population explosion of these destructive insects, and it’s a story being played out across the American West where forest fires are growing in frequency and intensity. The UK government has planted millions of trees over the last decade, and has pledged another million between 2020 and 2024. Planting a Victory Garden Can Help Fight Global Warming Planting a Victory Garden Can Help Fight Global Warming. New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could … The ETH Zurich researchers mistakenly considered natural savannas, grasslands, and shrublands as places where forests could be restored. CHHASE aims to plant 100,000 plants in three years. As trees grow, they help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. The team estimated that the natural climate solutions could lock up the equivalent of 23.8 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. As a result, planting more trees typically makes the land darker. Preserving the tree is an obligation for everyone without exception, one tree will absorb approximately a ton of carbon dioxide during the course of its life cycle. Planting more trees fights global warming and climate change and helps preserve the Earth’s ecosystems. For example, he wrote, the U.S. produced 5.8 billion gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019. Planting or protecting trees around the world, especially in the tropics, could help deal with climate change—but at a cost. Experts say it's not a panacea. By … Other changes have to be made to reduce global CO 2 emissions and an effective response lies in the hands of world politicians. Trees are a natural “carbon sink”. “Instead of that guy from Salesforce saying, ‘I’m going to put money into planting a trillion trees,’ I’d like him to go and say, ‘I’m going to put my money into helping indigenous people in the Amazon defend their lands.’ That’s going to have a bigger impact.”. But the planting of new forests can help mitigate against climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Planting trees is not a substitute for weaning the world off burning oil, coal and gas, the chief cause of global warming, Crowther emphasized. This implies natural climate solutions could mop up about 30% of the CO2 we need to deal with every year. Vladimir Vasilenko, President and CEO of Global Warming Solutions, noted: "Tackling climate change will rely on all of us, and Plant Your Future is a creative way to help … “They’re assuming that snow cover’s going to stay there with warming,” says Beverly Law of Oregon State University in Corvallis. For example, the aerosols create a faint haze. The App will use satellite imaging and […] Planting trees doesn’t always help with climate change, a film arguing for extra protections for the world’s forests, The UK government has planted millions of trees over the last decade, in 2016 one Indian state planted 50 million trees in one day, Ethiopia claimed to have planted 350 million in a day, a campaign encouraging all its readers to plant a tree, remove a quarter of the carbon dioxide currently in the air, the global total of 41 billion tonnes of CO2, one of the most effective carbon drawdown solutions to date, Crowther's team published an extensive correction, the best place to plant new trees is the tropics, we have created a cooling effect that slightly offset the warming from greenhouse gas emissions, a more plausible figure would be 11-15 billion tonnes of CO2 per year, natural climate solutions could mop up about 30% of the CO2 we need to deal with every year, a 2018 report on greenhouse gas removal technologies, planting trees in dry areas can cause water scarcity because they suck up so much, enabling more plant growth and therefore more carbon storage, planting rich new forests can boost local biodiversity, Similar conflicts over land use exist in all countries. In a 2017 study, researchers led by Bronsom Griscom, now at Conservation International, estimated the full potential of “natural climate solutions”. In August 2017, way ahead of schedule, Pakistan hit its target of planting a billion trees to combat the effects of climate change. For Nadine Unger of the University of Exeter in the UK, this is a major problem. But a wide array of experts insist that if we don’t also take numerous other actions to address climate change – specifically including major cuts in fossil fuel emissions and in particular carbon dioxide – we may just be fueling the fire. “You have to be careful where you do reforestation,” says David Beerling of the University of Sheffield in the UK. This means planting trees only helps stop climate change in certain places. Protecting the forests while we are at it.,” The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2020, “Planting trees won’t save the world,” The New York Times, Feb. 12, 2020, “Republican lawmakers introduce trillion trees act to combat climate change,” Reason, Feb. 13, 2020, “1 trillion trees: What would it take, how would it work, and is it even worth it?,”Fast Company, Feb. 19, 2020, “Panel battles over tree-planting legislation,” The Hill, Feb. 26, 2020, “A trillion trees not enough to fix climate crisis, critics say,” PhysOrg, Feb. 27, 2020, © 2020 Yale Climate Connections | Created by Constructive. Others have attempted far more dramatic feats: in 2016 one Indian state planted 50 million trees in one day, while in July last year Ethiopia claimed to have planted 350 million in a day. It's possible, suggests a new study, which finds that as climates warm around the world, plants may respond by releasing more aerosol particles … “Tree planting is Trump’s politically safe new climate plan,” Vox, Feb. 4, 2020, “Trump and the trillion trees,” The New York Times, Feb. 5, 2020, “What’s better than planting a trillion trees? Trees are a good thing, but: Like other initiatives to tackle climate change, planting trees requires some forethought. It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – … Then grab some seeds, or some seedlings, and start planting trees like there's no tomorrow. The message, then, is that trees can play a significant role in stopping dangerous climate change – provided we plant them in the right places. In other words, battling climate change with carbon-sucking trees requires more planning and strategy than just planting trees everywhere we can. "None of this works without emissions cuts." Yes, some trees are better than others when it comes to preventing climate change. Numerous other Republican representatives are endorsing the trees effort. So how much can trees really help us solve our climate problem? At the moment a lot of the trees being planted are monocultures of fast-growing commercial species like acacia or eucalyptus. “There’s virtually nowhere where land’s just lying idle and you can just come along and do that.”. Back in Washington, D.C., President Trump and Republican lawmakers said they too support the international campaign – although Arkansas Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman came under fire for proposing a “Trillion Trees Act” that would pair a commitment to planting trees with a plan to increase logging on public lands. Protecting the forests while we are at it. Probably because it is," said Prof Martin Lukac from the … Climate change is a huge and complex issue and, as individuals, we can feel helpless. The idea is everywhere. “That’s been kind of a red herring that’s held out there a lot,” says Law. The first is that some people may be mistaking tree planting as a substitute for cutting emissions. As a result the great ice sheets are melting, contributing to rising seas, and extreme weather events like hurricanes and droughts are becoming more severe. * This article has been edited on 3 June 2020 to add details of the correction issued in Science on the paper by Thomas Crowther and his team. These figures have been widely criticised as overhyped and unreliable. Want to help save the world from climate change? Trees provide many benefits to us, every day. These argued that the researchers had overestimated the carbon trees could store – by a factor of five. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in its stead also helps limit global warming, providing for a cleaner, healthier climate. It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – … The challenge will be finding ways to fit huge new forests into our societies in such a way that people accept them. So maybe we can plant a trillion trees around the globe. By removing carbon dioxide from the air, trees are one of our strongest allies in the fight against climate change. Read about our approach to external linking. But when carbon dioxide levels increase, plants’ stomata shrink, releasing less water into the air and reducing the cooling effect. That’s enough to negate about 20 years of human-produced carbon emissions at the current rate, or about half of all carbon emitted by humans since 1960. As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating. 2. The hope is that they will save us from the worst effects of climate change. Salesforce founder Businessman Marc Benioff announced at the meeting that his company will “support and mobilize the conservation and restoration of 100 million trees over the next decade.”. That means we must also find ways to actively remove CO2 from the air. These chemicals stick together to form tiny floating particles called aerosols, which have complicated effects. There are also deeper problems, because trees have more than one way to affect the climate. He wouldn't say that because doesn't think there is a problem. Over the past few weeks, chatter has picked up that planting trees is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to combating climate change. Earlier this year, the one-trillion tree campaign was big news at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. If the campaign results in what are essentially tree plantations lacking biodiversity and genetic variation, often referred to as monoculture, those artificial forests won’t get very far. Planting trees can play a part in reducing carbon in the atmosphere – but it cannot reverse global warming on its own (Credit: Getty Images). In October 2019, the journal Science published four highly critical comments. Evapotranspiration also cools the surrounding air—a tree can transpire up to ten gallons of water on a hot day. But there is something we can do – and that's increasing tree and woodland cover. At Your Home. The popular wartime solution for supplementing food rations was embraced by Eleanor Roosevelt, and now environmental experts say it's time to bring victory gardens back. However, simply stopping all our emissions is no longer enough. Deciduous species that lose their leaves in the winter will allow sunlight to heat the house as well. One thing that would help us to achieve both is to plant trees. They offer cooling shade, block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our homes and communities. Tundra and boreal regions unpopulated by trees play an important global role in reflecting energy from the sun back into space. Local Environmental Benefits. Nary a soul, one suspects, whether of conventional “tree hugger” category or rabid climate science detractor. What causes flowers to bloom in the fall? Those side benefits are in addition to the priceless conservation and expansion of plant and wildlife biodiversity. Who could argue with more trees, more forests – more shade! All sorts of technological approaches have been proposed, but trees are an obvious contributor. Nations absolutely should plant and protect as many as possible. Only about 60% of the saplings are expected to survive – the rest succumbing to disease and a lack of water. Join one million Future fans by liking us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram. As trees grow they absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The researchers “really did a pretty good job”, she says. The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming By Bruce Lieberman | Mar 19, 2020 A campaign to plant one trillion trees made headlines. So long as a tree lives, that carbon stays within it – and trees can live for decades or centuries. Recent news coverage of the trillion tree campaign points to several things people should be thinking about before digging and planting. Trees Help Fight Climate Change As trees grow, they help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. In other words, if we stopped cutting down trees we would cut our annual emissions by about 10%. For example, in parts of northern Europe, planting more trees could reduce the heat and light reflected from snowy ground, and actually increase global warming. Planting more trees fights global warming and climate change and helps preserve the Earth’s ecosystems. The other thing trees do is emit volatile chemicals into the air. This finding has had immediate, fierce pushback from other climate scientists. Trees are only part of the solution. And in many ways it could be all of those. Regardless, it might help. In 2014 Unger calculated that, by chopping down forests from 1850 to the 2000s and thus preventing them emitting volatiles, we have created a cooling effect that slightly offset the warming from greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s examine the carbon sequestration and global warming mitigation potential of planting trees in all available areas outside of tundra and boreal regions, where as Lewis et al. 1 trillion trees: What would it take, how would it work, and is it even worth it? Researcher: ‘Nations absolutely should plant and protect as many [trees] as possible. This scatters sunlight back into space, cooling the planet. Plants take carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere to do photosynthesis, and thus help reduce the greenhouse gases warming the planet. Planting trees can help with both, he says, “but only if we do it right”. Authors of a 2019 study from the Swiss research university, ETH Zurich, estimated that the planet can support about 2.5 billion more acres of newly planted trees – without tearing down cities and doing away with farms. This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman. A Skeptical Science article by Dana Nuccitelli, a regular contributor to Yale Climate Connections and an environmental scientist, cites additional studies that have raised several other key points. This is not just talk. Pakistan. “The overall effect is quite small,” says Spracklen, who has studied the effects of aerosols. The Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has made a film arguing for extra protections for the world’s forests, and for the replanting of those that have been cut down. Deforestation is actually one of the biggest sources of carbon dioxide, because when trees are cut down much of the carbon stored within them escapes into the air – especially if the wood is burned. By planting trees, you can help clean the air and fight climate change! Scientist Zeke Hausfather, long a regular contributor to Yale Climate Connections, suggested in a series of tweets at the time that the study was misleading on a few counts. By Bruce Lieberman | Thursday, March 19, 2020. Interestingly, the actions required to reduce global warming would also help to reduce global poverty, since a healthier environment would increase nutritious agricultural yields… and it would improve global health. They also highlighted multiple mistakes. The Lebanon Reforestation Initiative has been working since 2012 with tree nurseries throughout Lebanon to help grow stronger tree seedlings that are better suited to survive once planted. Planting 1 trillion trees won’t be easy, but each one of us can make a difference in this fight. By planting more than a half trillion trees, the authors say, we could capture about 205 gigatons of carbon (a gigaton is 1 billion metric tons), reducing atmospheric carbon by about 25 percent. And in their ETH Zurich study, they estimated a carbon sequestration rate of 0.22 GtC per million hectares (i.e., for every 2.47 million acres). Republican lawmakers introduce trillion trees act to combat climate change. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in its stead also helps limit global warming, providing for a cleaner, healthier climate. Also, planting trees is not just about stopping climate change. Since dark surfaces absorb more heat, a dark tree-covered surface will trap more of the Sun’s heat – and warm the local climate. That is a little over half our annual emissions, but they emphasise that many of the strategies they studied would not be cost-effective: a more plausible figure would be 11-15 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. To successfully fight climate change, it's vital that the right land is restored. Bring awareness to children. Trees are important tools in the fight to stave off global warming. Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old climate activist who was in the audience when Trump spoke, said planting trees is good but no solution to global warming. See how planting trees helps fight climate change. In contrast, planting trees in snowy regions near the poles is likely to cause a net warming, while planting them in temperate climates – like that of the UK, much of Europe and parts of the US – may have no net effect on climate. So the study found that although it might be beneficial to plant trees in low-latitude (near the equator) regions, planting trees elsewhere could actually produce more warming. How Trees Fight Climate Change Whether you plant trees around your home and property, in your community, or in our national forests, they help fight climate change. Among them: trees take time to grow and reach maturity – decades and even centuries for redwoods and other behemoths that can store massive amounts of carbon. That’s equal to one-third of all the carbon that humans have emitted into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide pollution, the authors claimed. Not by itself. It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO 2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen. “People are getting caught up in the wrong solution,” Forrest Fleischman of the University of Minnesota told The Verge in late January. I heard his speach and I don't think he said it's going to solve the problem. It would be better to restore species-rich forests, he says. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, … However, forests are complex ecosystems, and poorly planned planting efforts can actually increase the amount of carbon dioxide (CO 2) in the atmosphere and increase global warming. New trees can either be planted in regions that have been deforested (reforestation) or in places that have never had them before (afforestation). The best thing humans can do is to plant things!! At least 1 trillion of them, and fast. “As well as the climate emergency, we’re facing a biodiversity crisis,” says Spracklen. These have “virtually no biodiversity benefits and may even replace something that was better”. The first issue is that trees are dark, at least compared to other things that might blanket the land, such as grass or snow. Image Credit: Lucian Dachma on Unsplash. To maximize cost-savings, plant shade trees at the southern and western windows of your house to block sunlight and around your outdoor air conditioning unit [source: Pew Center on Global Climate Change ]. For Law, it is one of the best estimates published to date. As the trees grow they pull in CO2 through their leaves and convert it into carbohydrates, which they use to grow. Areas that are now used for farming – such as rearing sheep on hill country – can be difficult to reforest (Credit: Getty Images), The real uncertainties are not scientific, but socio-political. Planting trees in these regions would darken landscapes at these high latitudes, causing them to absorb energy from the sun rather than reflect it – ultimately contributing to higher global temperatures and offsetting cooling created by planting trees. Planting trees can play a part in reducing carbon in the atmosphere – but it cannot reverse global warming on its own (Credit: Getty Images) However, the … But 0.22 GtC is twice the amount cited by previously published estimates. Another point Temple made: You really have to work the numbers to get a true sense of the challenge. Highlighted that planting rich new forests can boost local biodiversity, as well as improving water availability or some,. Finding ways to fit huge new forests can boost local biodiversity, as well improving. And geothermal energy fast-growing commercial species like acacia or eucalyptus absolutely should plant trillion. 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