(TMU) — At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland would leaders addressed various ways to combat climate change and help the environment. It was there that U.S. President Donald Trump committed to the Trillion Trees initiative.
A bill is currently being drafted by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Arkansas) that would set in stone the commitment to the planting of billions of trees annually. If the legislation passes, the U.S. will plant 3.3 billion trees each year over the next 30 years.
“The pragmatic, proactive thing to do is to plant forests and manage them so that you’re actually pulling carbon out of the atmosphere.”
Trump said at Davos:
“We’re committed to conserving the majesty of God’s creation and the natural beauty of our world.”
ICYMI: U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed the 'prophets of doom' at #WEF20 and climate activist @GretaThunberg said planting a trillion trees was 'nowhere near enough', in their latest high-profile tit-for-tat. Full #ReutersDavos coverage https://t.co/WJ2UekUi2f pic.twitter.com/nbSaWgUCEg
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 27, 2020
Over the last few years tree planting initiatives have increased across the world. From Ireland pledging to plant 440 million trees over the next 20 years to Ethiopia breaking the world record by planting 350 million trees in a mere 12 hours, Sikhs pledging to plant 1 million trees around the world in a few short months, and India planting 50 million trees in only 24 hours back in 2017, inhabitants of planet Earth are responding to the scientists who have urged the world to plant billions of trees in what they say is the fastest and cheapest way to reverse climate change.
Professor Thomas Crowther, a climate change ecologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich who led the research, told the Associated Press in July:
“This is by far—by thousands of times—the cheapest climate change solution.”
As previously reported by TMU, “an area of trees roughly the size of the United States could scrub 205 billion metric tons of carbon emissions—out of the roughly 300 billion metric tons of carbon pollution spewed into the atmosphere over the past 25 years.”
However, despite the world-wide effort and research to back it up, experts are now expressing their concerns about the tactic.
University of Chicago geophysical sciences professor David Archer explains:
“Trees do take carbon out of the atmosphere and if you want to permanently store carbon in trees, you have to permanently commit to keeping the trees forever.
The fossil fuel carbon is so much bigger than all the carbon in the trees. You can’t do carbon neutral by planting trees…it’s sort of a Band Aid.”
Nevertheless, Trump says the U.S. “will continue to show strong leadership in restoring, growing and better managing our trees and our forests.”
Whether or not scientists, lawmakers, and citizens can agree on if planting trees is the best strategy to combat climate change, no one can argue the fact that such efforts are not in vain and will indeed help the U.S. and planet one way or another. According to a 2018 U.S. Forest Service study, the U.S. lost 36 million trees per year from both urban and rural areas between the years 2009 and 2014.