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Why This Matters: Look what people can do when they just try. The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker editorialized that “At the moment, our biggest problem – climate change – can be ended by simply planting trees. OK, so a trilliont rees, according to a Swiss study published earlier this month in the journal Science. But how hard is that, really?” I (Monica) laughed when I read it, but I am changing my tune, given what Ethiopia managed to pull off in just a day. How hard would it be? How many could we plant here in the U.S. if we tried creating carbon sinks instead of pulling carbon out of the ground and the ocean? No one really thinks we can fully solve the climate change problem without curing our fossil fuel addiction, but we could make a visible start if we RE-planted
Ethiopia has suffered the impacts of desertification such as land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation, and recurrent droughts and flooding, which have been exacerbated by agriculture and global warming according to the United Nations.
It turns out, according to researchers in Switzerland, that planting trees is an effective way to take carbon out of the atmosphere. Tom Crowther, one of the authors of the study, calculated that there are about 3 trillion trees already on earth — much higher than NASA’s previous estimate of 400 billion. The research team further calculated that if we planted an additional 1.2 trillion across the planet, there would be huge benefits in terms of absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide, the main driver of climate change.
Current trees are in green and trees that could be planed are in yellow.
Corporations attempting to reduce their carbon footprint in the short run are restoring forests as a way of offsetting the carbon they release into the atmosphere. But some of these initiatives may be less effective than advertised. They are alleged to have inflated the amount of carbon saved from corporate ownership or claimed to protect land that was never under threat of logging.
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