Trees and CO2 Emissions

A Double Whammy In our previous article, we talked about how strategically placed trees can help you reduce your energy

A Double Whammy

In our previous article, we talked about how strategically placed trees can help you reduce your energy use and thereby reduce your energy bills. We also touched on how reducing your energy bills in turn helps reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of energy you need (WOW, we just used the word reduce five times!). 

Now let’s take a rapid look at how trees directly contribute to reducing overall CO2 emissions.

According to scientists, planting trees is one of the most effective and and cheapest ways of taking CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere.

So how many trees can we plant; what can that do?

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Want Your Mind Blown?

Through a process called photosynthesis, as trees grow they absorb and store carbon dioxide emissions in their trunks; releasing clean oxygen back into the air.  

While that’s a fact most of learn in school, a team of scientists calculated how many trees we could plant worldwide, without encroaching on existing urban areas or crop lands.

New research estimates that a worldwide planting program could remove two-thirds of all the CO2 emissions from human activities that remain in the atmosphere today, a figure the scientists describe as “mind-blowing”.

The analysis found there are 1.7 billion hectares of treeless land on which 1.2 trillion native trees would naturally grow – if planted. These results exclude all lands that are currently being used to grow farm crops as well as urban areas where concrete would prevent trees from being planted. They did however include lands used grazing by live stock; calculating less trees could be planted in those areas but also taking into account that trees planted in graze-lands would benefit live stock as well.

That area is about 11% of all land and equivalent to the size of the US and China combined. Tropical areas could have 100% tree cover, while others would be more sparsely covered, meaning that on average about half the area would be under tree canopy.

Here you can see some of the analysis results: 

“This new quantitative evaluation shows [forest] restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one,” said Prof Tom Crowther at the Swiss university ETH Zürich, who led the research. “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.”

Crowther emphasized that it remains vital to reverse the current trends of rising greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and forest destruction, and bring them down to zero. He said this is needed to stop the climate crisis becoming even worse and because the forest restoration envisaged would take 50-100 years to have its full effect of removing 200 billion tonnes of carbon.

What Can I Do?

Now that you’ve had your mind blown by these facts, let’s take a look at what you can do to help. Well, it’s actually pretty simple. You can either directly plant trees or participate in and support tree planting programs. That’s what we’re doing! 

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