Best way to fight climate change? Plant a trillion trees

Best way to fight climate change? Plant a trillion trees
In this Dec. 4, 2018 file photo, people walk in Tree Library park in Milan, Italy. The city has ambitious plans to plant 3 million new trees by 2030— a move that experts say could offer relief to the city's muggy and sometimes tropical weather. A study released on Thursday, July 4, 2019 says that the most effective way to fight global warming is to plant lots of trees - a trillion of them, maybe more. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The most effective way to fight global warming is to plant lots of trees, a study says. A trillion of them, maybe more.

And there's enough room, Swiss scientists say. Even with existing cities and farmland, there's enough space for new trees to cover 3.5 million square miles (9 million square kilometers), they reported in Thursday's journal Science . That area is roughly the size of the United States.

The study calculated that over the decades, those new trees could suck up nearly 830 billion tons (750 billion metric tons) of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That's about as much carbon pollution as humans have spewed in the past 25 years.

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.

"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.

Six nations with the most room for new trees are Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil and China.

Restoration of the Earth’s forests is the world’s most effective solution to climate change available today and has the potential to capture two thirds of man-made carbon emissions, finds landmark research by the Crowther Lab. Credit: Crowther Lab / Brodie Lea

Before his research, Crowther figured that there were other more effective ways to fight climate change besides cutting emissions, such as people switching from meat-eating to vegetarianism. But, he said, tree planting is far more effective because trees take so much dioxide out of the air.

Thomas Lovejoy, a George Mason University conservation biologist who wasn't part of the study, called it "a good news story" because would also help stem the loss of biodiversity.

  • How trees could save the climate
    Figure A shows the total land available that can support trees across the globe (total of current forested areas and forest cover potential available for restoration Credit: ETH Zurich / Crowther Lab
  • How trees could save the climate
    Figure B shows the land available for forest restoration (excluding deserts, agricultural and urban areas; current forestland not shown). Credit: ETH Zurich / Crowther Lab

Planting trees is not a substitute for weaning the world off burning oil, coal and gas, the chief cause of , Crowther emphasized.

"None of this works without emissions cuts," he said.

Nor is it easy or realistic to think the world will suddenly go on a binge, although many groups have started , Crowther said.

"It's certainly a monumental challenge, which is exactly the scale of the problem of climate change," he said.

As Earth warms, and especially as the tropics dry, is being lost, he noted.

The researchers used Google Earth to see what areas could support more trees, while leaving room for people and crops. Lead author Jean-Francois Bastin estimated there's space for at least 1 trillion more trees, but it could be 1.5 trillion.

That's on top of the 3 trillion that now are on Earth, according to earlier Crowther research.

The study's calculations make sense, said Stanford University environmental scientist Chris Field, who wasn't part of the study.

"But the question of whether it is actually feasible to restore this much forest is much more difficult," Field said in an email.


Explore further

Predicting climate change

More information: J.-F. Bastin el al., "The global tree restoration potential," Science (2019). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aax0848

R. Chazdon el al., "Restoring forests as a means to many ends," Science (2019). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aax9539

ETH Zurich press release

Journal information: Science

© 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Jul 04, 2019
Brilliantly simple and practical and, happily, Americans are already doing it. We have more trees now than we did a century ago. Unfortunately this solution will only anger the climatistas because their real goal is to compel humanity to behave the way they think we should. Planting trees is too easy and doesn't require sanctimonious "experts" and an authoritarian government that will ostensibly save us from our craven instincts.

Jul 04, 2019
don't forget to tell your political and social betters to stop flying chartered jets to climate change conventions.

oh, yeah and paint all artificial sky-facing surfaces a reflective color.

Jul 04, 2019
Line the edge of Australia with desalination plants and cover the interior deserts with trees. Not only fights climate change on a massive level but creates the largest timber and furniture industry's in the world from unproductive scrub.

Jul 04, 2019
"Climatistas"? You mean like climatologists? Like the ones that did this study?

Jul 04, 2019
"-their real goal is to compel humanity to behave the way they think we should."

Nonsense - but I suppose it is easier to mobilise opposition to political extremists with motivations like that than opposition to the world's leading science agencies and the decades of consistent science based expert advice.

It is because appropriate policy responses are entirely compatible with free enterprise, democracy and the rule of law that opponents of climate responsibility want the solutions to be seen as entirely incompatible with them. Getting people on board in opposing extremist politics is much easier than getting them to oppose what the US National Academy of Sciences or the National Research Council are telling us.

The vast majority of us who want appropriate responses taken are NOT driven by those alleged motivations nor seek the political outcomes you claim we do. It is not an extremist act to take decades of top level expert advice on this seriously.

Jul 04, 2019
False. The only way to restore the environment is a world wide stoppage of births, followed by a limit to the number of children per family. The author fails to recognize that there are 9 billion humans on earth and 105 to 115 million more every year. Yeah.

Jul 04, 2019
The only way to restore the environment is a world wide stoppage of births, followed by a limit to the number of children per family.


Things are better than ever before in human history. Population is predicted to top out at 12 billion then decline as people continue to improve their lifestyles.

You are a complete ignoramus.


Jul 04, 2019
Best way to fight climate change?

Let the climate reduce the number of humans.
High IQ altered the environment to
natural selection for low intelligence. Let climate
restore the balance of nature which is tipped to degeneration
visible everywhere.

Jul 04, 2019
Things are better than ever before in human history. Population is predicted to top out at 12 billion then decline as people continue to improve their lifestyles.

their unsustainable lifestyles you mean.

Jul 04, 2019
Let the climate reduce the number of humans.


Another loser telling us we all should be losers.

If a great idea is a 1 in a million, than you get a 1000 great ideas with a billion people.

Things are better than ever before in human history.
You are simply a loser with that attitude, not knowing the reality of life in 2019.


Jul 04, 2019
their unsustainable lifestyles you mean.


Things are better than ever before in human history. Name a subject.

You losers can't read English.

Jul 04, 2019
You are a complete ignoramus.


No he's not just uneducated to the facts.

Jul 05, 2019
It's not just "planting trees". Sure there may be more trees now than last year, in the US, since paper companies have tree plantations. Planting a FOREST, that is, a BIOME, is more difficult. Otherwise, we're just killing the ecology, same as our agriculture. What will stem our population or over consumption from continuing, or, what will keep plastic from out weighing fish by 2050?
Don't have kids.

Jul 05, 2019
There's no reason we can't mass product trees, but current methodology sucks; trees should be grown in a small cardboard tubes i.e., toilet paper tube, and the trees should be planted once they grow a mere half a foot. This makes plantation easier, mass producing faster. Now they just need to pick the right trees; oaks and anything native to hawaii and resistant to pests and diseases, cross breeding which types of trees benefit each other.

Trees are particularly important for the United States as it is becoming increasingly arid, and trees not only attract clouds, but retain moisture; of course you needs hundreds of thousands to begin to notice a change in climate.

Jul 05, 2019
Tropical areas are mass wrecking forests and barely trying to restore anything. THAT'S where it has to start. As long as those assholes will continue destroying ecosystems to plabt whatever junk they're selling afterwards, while alternatives are already sold everywhere, the Plant Lotsa Trees plan won't show the efficiency it should have.

Jul 05, 2019
Don't have kids.


No, don't YOU have kids. You'll teach them baloney.

Sure there's still pollution, but we are making efforts to remove all that plastic, which had built up over 50 years and accelerated by growing nations like China.

So overall, the pollution problem is better than ever before. Because it was really bad before.
Now it's just bad. But don't have kids, even though things are better than ever before in human history. You'll teach your kids to fear life via alarmist delusions.


Jul 05, 2019
Trees glories trees

Trees create their own climate making it rain because of height
They hold back the advancing tide of deserts
Oh, and by the bye, it's been heard tell they store carbon in their trunks
To burn as fuel in winter to keep warm and other cellular activities
For in flat featureless concrete streets they provide shade
Their leaves illuminate the ground with dappled light
For they create an ambiance of civility in towns
For we like tree lined street with hanging plants and gardens for that luxury of colour
For there are nothing like trees

Jul 05, 2019
Things are most certainly not getting better.

In 1992, the UN created the climate change framework.

More than half of the carbon currently in the atmosphere was emitted after 1992.

Jul 05, 2019
We have created as much ruin knowingly as as we ever managed to in ignorance

Jul 05, 2019
Plant a trillion trees to solve the world's CO2 problem while working on developing 4th Generation modular nuclear reactors to solve the world's energy problem within a similar timeframe!

Jul 05, 2019
We have SEVERAL Skyscrapers on Land. We have a Lot of Waste Plastic and Trees that can tolerate Saline Soil. So, It is IMPERATIVE that we make Plastic Containers on Oceans for Such Trees ASAP !
https://www.pubs...._pdf.pdf

Jul 05, 2019
Rather than Planting more trees, at first contain Forest Fires that constantly remove them. Beforehand, Spread over those forests from Air whatever safe materials we have that can immediately contain fires that start there!

Jul 05, 2019
We have SEVERAL Skyscrapers on Land. We have a Lot of Waste Plastic and Trees that can tolerate Saline Soil. So, It is IMPERATIVE that we make Plastic Containers on Oceans for Such Trees ASAP !
https://www.pubs...._pdf.pdf

3/4 of the Planet is Sea Water !

Jul 05, 2019
Tropical areas are mass wrecking forests and barely trying to restore anything. THAT'S where it has to start. As long as those assholes will continue destroying ecosystems to plabt whatever junk they're selling afterwards, while alternatives are already sold everywhere, the Plant Lotsa Trees plan won't show the efficiency it should have.
Cattle Eating Idiots are messing up this world with 0.18 Trillion kilogram DANGEROUS Methane Every Year; Prof. Williams: 1 Cow produces 70-120 kg Methane/yr and World has 1.5 Billion cattle.
https://phys.org/...ows.html

Jul 05, 2019
Forest fires are just a natural part of forest growing cycle. Not as big as California's tho but eliminating all fires is bad.

It's not about just planting trees. If we plant a trillion trees and then cut them down and burn them, the net effect is zero. We need to plant trees and use them properly for buildings etc. where the carbon is stored for long times.

Jul 05, 2019
Forest fires are just a natural part of forest growing cycle. Not as big as California's tho but eliminating all fires is bad.

It's not about just planting trees. If we plant a trillion trees and then cut them down and burn them, the net effect is zero. We need to plant trees and use them properly for buildings etc. where the carbon is stored for long times.

Pull Them Out & DUMP IN the Midst of OCEANS. It is Worth the Trouble !

Jul 05, 2019
Pull Them Out & DUMP IN the Midst of OCEANS. It is Worth the Trouble !

If it worth the trouble why aren't you doing it already?

Jul 05, 2019
Drone planting of trees can use 4000 drones, and 2000 people to plant 10 billion trees per year at about $1 billion per year. The best non-drone tree restoration projects are restoring billions of trees at 30 cents a tree. This means 1 trillion trees would be $300 billion !
https://www.nextb...e-157962

Jul 05, 2019
It would be easier to just stop tilling the ground and return to grass based foods -- Studies show that grass finished cattle managed properly create a net carbon sink - net of methane etc. due to the grass system building of soil -- Tillage and soil disturbance and use of chemicals destroy the liquid carbon pathway which stops soil from growing. Solution is simple but not popular since "science" does not look at impact of soil disturbance on Carbon in atmosphere. Alter ag practices, raise more cattle and Carbon gets sequestered. The balance is the issue and the answer is change ag

Jul 05, 2019
Planting trees is just a stop-gap measure. It creates a (finite) reservoir which will eventually plateau out (when planted trees and decaying trees reach equilibrium).

There is no getting around that we need to stop putting massive amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere in the first place. At some point we may even be forced to sequester the gunk because the temperatures are already causing other buffer systems (deep ocean methane ice deposits, permafrost locked CO2) to dump their greenhouse gasses back into the atmosphere, too.

Jul 05, 2019
Hmmmm. If a billion people planted one tree every day they'd be at it for three years. If you only get a hundred million, 30 years. Not so sure the math works out here, but I do have to admit it would cost a lot less.

Jul 05, 2019
We have SEVERAL Skyscrapers on Land. We have a Lot of Waste Plastic and Trees that can tolerate Saline Soil. So, It is IMPERATIVE that we make Plastic Containers on Oceans for Such Trees ASAP !
https://www.pubs...._pdf.pdf

Use Water from Now on ! Floating Dairy Farm in Netherlands.
https://www.youtu...jj0LtsE0

Jul 05, 2019
If a billion people planted one tree every day they'd be at it for three years. If you only get a hundred million, 30 years. Not so sure the math works out here, but I do have to admit it would cost a lot less.

Always assuming all the trees live...which they won't
https://phys.org/...off.html

Jul 05, 2019
It's not just "planting trees".....HAWW..HEE...HAWW....DON'T HAVE KIDS.

Don't you wish, your parents had thought of that.

Jul 05, 2019
Another "brilliant" idea from the AGW Cult, who gave us "solutions" like, bio-fuels from food crops, and is guaranteed to truly fuck things up.
The best way to fight climate change is to expose the BLATANT LIES of the Cult.

Jul 05, 2019
@tehalgore hates trees.

Jul 05, 2019
More than half of the carbon currently in the atmosphere was emitted after 1992.


And Earth is greener because of it. You're just an alarmist fool pretending CO2 is a pollutant.
More than half is also a lie, a 30% increase is not half; even though it's not toxic.

Jul 05, 2019
More than half of the carbon currently in the atmosphere was emitted after 1992.


So 1991 was the best year in human history ever? Oh okay /eye-roll\

Jul 05, 2019
Old c code, you are as outdated as your programming language.
In my short life time, the population has doubled from 4.5 billion to 9 billion. Even the climate alarmists dont realize how bad it is. Co2 ppm is 100 ppm higher than the scientists can measure. Population is 1.3 billion more than the scientists can measure.
If you watched this video https://youtu.be/pSxQZJ0AvKM
You would beg to be forgiven of your arrogance and ignorance.

Jul 05, 2019
@Old_C-Code.

Mate, don't you even stop to think what it is you are actually saying before you post? The rate of, and total, population increase alone since the second world war means that human activity involving MECHANISED INDUSTRIAL scale of chemical/steel/food etc production, infrastructure, transportation and general lifestyle means that CO2 is increasing much much faster than ever before in human history. And the (already started) triggering of long-naturally stored CO2 in clathrates/hydrates and dissolved in oceans and drying/burning of vast global peatlands due to warming, is not as benign/good as you imagine it to be. Be careful what you wish for, mate, because you and yours may al too soon rue the day if you get your wish and runaway greenhouse effect is triggered if we don't avert it by urgent action on all fronts now. Good luck to us all. :)

Jul 05, 2019
Trees will never work!
Only solar panels, batteries and wind turbines that have to be replaced every 10 years can control global warming.

Jul 06, 2019
There is no single miraculous solution, but planting trees is a simple, effective and sustainable measure that will certainly do a lot of good, though it's not practical everywhere.

One thing I've not seen mentioned is that reforestation can also greatly reduce soil erosion, another considerable problem in many places.

Jul 06, 2019
The best way to fight climate change is to expose the BLATANT LIES of the Cult
Yep - there is no global warming - it is just made up by the Chinese.
https://techcrunc...l-scale/
https://www.washi...66c19168
https://www.thegu...-weather
https://www.vox.c...-climate
https://e360.yale...-to-melt

Wow those sneaky Chinese - they must have developed a giant heat machine - and kept it hidden.

Jul 06, 2019
Let the climate reduce the number of humans.


If a great idea is a 1 in a million, than you get a 1000 great ideas with a billion people.

High IQ will master gene editing for intelligence and get a million great ideas with 1000 people. You want more
low IQ people even though you think this causes climate change because they can be politically manipulated by fake science and bogus arguments. You fear intelligence and import low intelligence breeding with free health care. They drive old inefficient gas fueled pickup trucks while drunk and kill more Americans than foreign wars.


Jul 07, 2019
Brilliantly simple and practical and, happily, Americans are already doing it. We have more trees now than we did a century ago. Unfortunately this solution will only anger the climatistas because their real goal is to compel humanity to behave the way they think we should. Planting trees is too easy and doesn't require sanctimonious "experts" and an authoritarian government that will ostensibly save us from our craven instincts.


Your comment started off OK, but then you had to go and act like burning fossil fuels is purely your business. Get a real, balanced view of what's going on. There is no single solution, if any, and it's certainly not going to suit wasteful deniers.

All this tree planting is constantly being outweighed by cutting, including clearance for "green" wind farms, so it's really a pipe dream. Where exactly do they think all this planting will occur? Are we supposed to turn what's left of prairies into forests? It wouldn't work in those climates for long.

Jul 07, 2019
I'd like to see a map of exactly where all these trees would go. Logging pressure seems to be increasing in most places, and treeless parts of urban areas just don't seem big enough.

The logging industry has also taken the devious tactic of claiming we need MORE logging to keep forests younger, since they make better carbon sinks. At the end of the day, people just destroy stuff and create mitigation fantasies vs. stopping the actual destruction.

Those who support industrial wind power, especially on mountains, should be aware of the permanent clear-cuts they require, including access roads and wilderness transmission corridors. In the place of actual trees we get huge, ugly pinwheels that flash red all night and kill birds and bats, while requiring backup fossil fuel power in low wind. Not very green.

Jul 07, 2019
Trees will never work!
Only solar panels, batteries and wind turbines that have to be replaced every 10 years can control global warming.


You are seriously mistaken. We need nuclear (SMR), a lot more conservation and ZPG (economic growth is unsustainable).

Wind turbines are ugly and take up far too much land, as well as the toll on wildlife and rural residents' sanity (noise). Germany built 30k of them with no real carbon-reduction to show for it. Solar sprawl is also a growing problem, as panels can't just be put on roofs, plus it has even lower energy density than wind.

Jul 07, 2019
Where exactly do they think all this planting will occur?
Yet another failure of understanding of the sheer scale of the Earth.

There are already three trillion trees on Earth, which you'd know if you'd actually read the article instead of knee-jerking at it. We just need a trillion more, and it will mitigate how fast we have to cut down on fossil fuels, which is valuable since we don't seem to be doing very well at that right now.


Jul 07, 2019
Jack
Wind turbines are ugly and take up far too much land, as well as the toll on wildlife and rural residents' sanity (noise). Germany built 30k of them with no real carbon-reduction to show for it
Wow - it is pop a mole with the FUD - renewable haters. Show us a working SMR Jack - and give us the cost on the electricity. Hinkley Point is running 12.5 cents Kwh - for a 35 year contract - inflation adjusted up for that 35 years. Lowest solar plus storage is coming in at 3.5 cents Kwh - and every indication is the price will continue down. https://www.forbe...03cb5971 Oklahoma (my state) gets 1/3 of it electricity from the wind - and ultra cheap electricity. . Land owners love the turbines - an extra revenue stream - and they keep using the land for ag. Stop with the FUD.

Jul 07, 2019
What I don't get is why the liar deniers keep attacking perfectly good ideas for ameliorating AGCC. It appears to be some sort of fascination with watching people die. Disgusting.

Jul 07, 2019
Old c code, you are as outdated as your programming language.


You stupid fck, only dopes need C++; since competent programmers write their own object oriented chit.


Jul 07, 2019
why the liar deniers keep attacking perfectly good ideas


This is about the first good idea I've heard in over 20 years.

But you have a religion, no data to back your claim. And I don't need links to BS fudged data.

Bankers still giving out 30 year mortgages in Miami. I trust their love of money over your love of questionable but poltically correct science.

Jul 08, 2019
Trees generally prefer a warmer climate though....

Jul 08, 2019
Yabbut, why do you care if a bunch of tree huggers plant a bunch of trees?

Teh evul tree monsters gonna get you?

Here's the deal, fool: stop burning black shit you dig up out of the ground. Get it?

Jul 08, 2019
Lots of comments by ignorant people. Of course, trees are one of the solutions. People have to take responsibility, instead of criticizing those of us with working brains. Lots of defeatist also commenting. I'm now 72, I have spent the last 13 years transforming my 1/3 acre property from lawn to a wildlife habitat/food forests. Hint: last word means trees. I'm surrounded by lawns and had to get permission to plant trees and all kinds of other plants. Plenty of wild life and native plants. Beneficial insects, etc are disappearing in town, they are moving to my yard. My yard has a climate of its own. Growing season, never too warm or too cold, unlike the rest of town. "Mother nature" just needs some help and then nature takes over. Many of my native plants and trees were not planted by me, the birds brought them in their poop. They are now taking over, same as the other small creatures in my yard. This is northern Minnesota, where it gets really cold. Do something or shut up.

Jul 08, 2019
Yep - there is no global warming - it is just made up by the Chinese.


It's summer.

Jul 08, 2019
These guys already doing this:
http://www.saytrees.org/
It is all in our hands. People don't wait for governments to act, do it, act now :-)

Jul 08, 2019
You know, I don't like the Chinese much; they're racist.

But they didn't make up global warming, despite the fact that by building coal-fired electric plants all over the place they made it worse and continue to do so. Kinda hard to pretend they made it up when there are so many Western scientists who have found evidence for it.

Jul 08, 2019
Kinda hard to pretend they made it up when there are so many Western scientists who have found evidence for it
I was making light of Captain Bonespurs little gem. :-) https://twitter.c...?lang=en

Jul 08, 2019
Waiting for the Chinese purge of geophysicists to support their coal fired electric plants. Bound to come before long.

Butbutbuttthere's no guhlobal waruming. Just gotta shut these siensetis up. /s

Jul 11, 2019

1. Fact: A trillion trees planted in an environment of temperature extremes and global warming are subject to the risk they die from said extremities.

2. Assumption 1: The trees will absorb the CO2, and weather will stabilize.

3. Assumption 2: The trees will absorb the CO2, and weather will stabilize to weather patterns of the 1970s AD.

4. Assumption 3: The trees will absorb the CO2, and weather will stabilize to weather patterns of the 1970s AD, and will stabilize linearly as CO2 is reduced.

Does anyone have the links showing tested proofs addressing the assumptions? Just because a sanctioned approach gives untested hope doesn't mean it should be endorsed. tx

Aug 14, 2019
In Pakistan we are trying to plant 10 billion trees in next 4 years and have planted 1 billion in previous year . Thanks to our tree plantation we have made and end to continuous drought in our country.

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