Planting billions of trees right now could suck up two-thirds of carbon dioxide produced by humans

A new study has provided the world an effective and cheap solution to preventing uncontrollable climate change. All we have to do is plant a whole lot of trees. We just need to listen and do it.

People who oppose the fight against climate change claim that solutions are too expensive to enact, but a study published in Science Magazine suggests a plan so simple that it would be to our detriment to not make it happen.

All we have to do is restore billions of trees across the landscape and that alone would suck up approximately two-thirds of the carbon dioxide humans produce.

The study says:

The restoration of trees remains among the most effective strategies for climate change mitigation. We mapped the global potential tree coverage to show that 4.4 billion hectares of canopy cover could exist under the current climate. Excluding existing trees and agricultural and urban areas, we found that there is room for an extra 0.9 billion hectares of canopy cover, which could store 205 gigatonnes of carbon in areas that would naturally support woodlands and forests. This highlights global tree restoration as our most effective climate change solution to date. However, climate change will alter this potential tree coverage. We estimate that if we cannot deviate from the current trajectory, the global potential canopy cover may shrink by ~223 million hectares by 2050, with the vast majority of losses occurring in the tropics. Our results highlight the opportunity of climate change mitigation through global tree restoration but also the urgent need for action.

It’s an ambitious idea, but a really good one that is far cheaper than any alternative out there. Combined with reducing carbon emissions, this plan could very well put Earth on track to recover from the damage we have caused.

“Restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one,” Swiss University ETH Zurich Professor Tom Crowther told The Guardian. “What blows my mind is the scale. I thought restoration would be in the top 10, but it is overwhelmingly more powerful than all of the other climate change solutions proposed…a climate change solution that doesn’t require President Trump to immediately start believing in climate change, or scientists to come up with technological solutions to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. It is available now, it is the cheapest one possible and every one of us can get involved.”

All it would take is for an army of dedicated people around the world to come together and make it their mission to plant as many trees as possible, especially in the tropics where deforestation has increased. An total area the size of the United States and China combined would be enough to make a big difference.

Crowther says it would take around $300 billion to plant one trillion trees. Considering what the United States spends on the military every year, this one time price tag would be well worth the investment. And since other nations would chip in, America would not have to go it alone.

However, the plan will require sacrifice. In order for this plan to work, we’re going to have to reduce our beef production and consumption because most of the trees will have to be planted to restore canopy where it had been cleared for pasture.

Ranchers and the overall beef industry are not going to like it, but if they want our planet to survive, they are going to have to take one for the team.

And again, companies are going to have to reduce their carbon emissions and we are going to have to drastically scale back our reliance on fossil fuels in favor of clean energy resources.

There’s no other way around climate change. Sacrifices are going to have to be made to prevent catastrophe and this study gives us the easiest way to get ourselves out the situation we put ourselves in. So let’s all grab our shovels and go plant trees.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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