Australia Embarks On A Tree-Planting Binge To Tackle Climate Change
Grow Talk by Sofy Robertson
This week, the Australian government announced its plans to plant a billion trees by 2050 as part of a new forestry plan to help the country meet its Paris Agreement climate targets.
This tree spree would contribute to the removal of 18 million tons of greenhouse gas per year by 2030; a necessary dent in a country that is currently producing in excess of 500 million tons of CO2-equivalent per year.
The Regional Forestry Hubs plan would also support jobs in a sector that contributes more than A$23 billion to the national economy. Australia has the seventh-largest forested area in the world covering 17% of its land area, according to the government’s 2018 State of the Forests report. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted:
“Our Government is committed to supporting all Australia’s traditional industries, including forestry.”
However the importance of coal to the Australian economy remains a serious obstacle to efforts to lower carbon emissions, say environmentalists. The country still gets around two thirds of its power from the fuel, which is also its biggest export earner.
Australia’s decision to embark on a tree spree coincides with new research from ETH Zurich that found that a campaign of tree-planting worldwide could make a substantial dent in the world’s net greenhouse gas emissions. Researcher Thomas Crowther stated that trees are “our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change.”
Crowther and his colleagues estimate that the Earth could support a trillion extra trees and explained:
“It’s a beautiful thing because everyone can get involved. Trees literally just make people happier in urban environments, they improve air quality, water quality, food quality, ecosystem service, it’s such an easy, tangible thing.” (Futurism)
Earlier research from the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has supported the importance of planting trees, and in this case, dinosaur trees, in tackling climate change.
Australia’s tree planting plan alone may not have the desired impact on their emissions and therefore their Paris Agreement targets, but perhaps it will encourage other countries to embark on tree binges to combat climate change.