This is by far — by thousands of times — the cheapest climate change solution, study co-author says
Young Macedonians plant seedling on the Vodno mountain near the capitol Skopje, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. A new study estimates that planting a trillion new trees could suck up nearly 750 billion tonnes of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. (Georgi Licovski/EPA)
The most effective way to fight global warming is to plant lots of trees, a trillion of them, maybe more, according to a new study.
Swiss scientists also say that even with existing cities and farmland, there’s enough space for new trees to cover nine million square kilometres, roughly the size of the United States.
The study calculated that over the decades, those new trees could suck up nearly 750 billion tonnes of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — about as much carbon pollution as humans have spewed in the past 25 years.
A female adult jaguar sits atop a tree at the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve in Uarini, Amazonas state, Brazil. Planting more trees could also preserve biodiversity, scientists say. (Bruno Kelly/Reuters)
Much of that benefit will come quickly because trees remove more carbon from the air when they are younger, the study authors said. The potential for removing the most carbon is in the tropics.
Canada has lots of room for trees
“This is by far — by thousands of times — the cheapest climate change solution” and the most effective, said study co-author Thomas Crowther, a climate change ecologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil and China have the most room for new trees, the report said. MORE