Best way to fight climate change? Plant a trillion trees

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.

Their report is in Thursday’s edition of the journal Science.

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

RELATED:

Tree planting ‘has mind-blowing potential’ to tackle climate crisis
Paper straws won’t save the planet – we need a four-day week

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s