Climate change has been on the minds of many people for years since there are fears, some of them well founded, that too much climate change would be detrimental for our way of life, not to mention cause damage to water and food supplies while causing animals to lose their homes. But all that is going to change because now Australia is planning on planting a billion trees to fight against climate change under a new forestry scheme aimed to tackle carbon emissions that are going up into the atmosphere every day. This incredibly large project is part of a vast campaign designed to meet the targets set up in the Paris Agreement.
However, this project will not reach fruition until the year 2050, so there will be a great deal of time before we finally see it in action and what the long term effects will be, but already the Australian government has made the prediction this project will eventually remove around 18 million tonnes worth of greenhouse gasses per years – an impressive figure, and a great answer to the question of how to combat climate change without technology. It’s also impressive since Australia is already producing 500 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
The project, backed by the current Morrison administration, the Regional Forestry Hubs will help drive both investments and jobs around the country while ensuring that Australia meets the terms of the Paris Agreement.
How does this work?
The news of this audacious project meets new research conducted at ETH Zurich, which has found a widespread campaign of tree-planting around the world could make a great deal of difference towards combating greenhouse gas emissions. The Zurich researcher Thomas Crowther has commented that planting trees are the most powerful weapon we have to combat climate change.
Benefits of the Project
While planting a billion trees is a great enough start, and substantially less than the trillion trees our planet can already support according to Crowther and his colleague’s estimations, there are other benefits. Everyone can get involved with the planting operation, but trees can do a great deal of good in urban environments since they can improve and provide clean and fresh air and water, improving the environment, provide quality food, and service the local ecosystems.
Other benefits include the prospect of new jobs provided by the Regional Forestry Hub in a sector that provides a large chunk to the Australian economy. At the moment there are over 50,000 people currently working for the Hubs who are employed in the growth and the processing of products gleaned from the forests. There are also many more people who are indirectly involved with the Hubs, but they provide a sizable chunk of the economy.
One of the biggest problems faced with the project is the amount of coal still used in Australia to meet its power needs, and a serious obstacle for Australia to produce low CO2 emissions. Indeed a recent OECD report has stated the country will miss the target unless it doubled its efforts to combat climate change to meet the terms of the Paris Agreement.
Already the development of the project is underway, and the seeds are being sowed in Tasmania’s north-west forestry belt for the first trees under the National Forest Industries Plan, and the government wants North Tasmania forest industries to be stronger, providing more work for new people, while improving opportunities and opening up options to expand Australia’s road and rail network.
The plan is to set up forest hubs in Tasmania in the north and move onto the primary mass of Australia itself, focusing in the New South Wales area, Western Australia, South Australia and the Victoria border while another five hubs will be established in 2020.
However, at the moment, the Australian government recognizes this project is not going to be simple. It will require a great deal of organisation, requiring labor, and a region to be selected for the safe planting of trees in order to meet the targets set by the agreement to tackle climate change. The government plans to speak to forest communities to help identify sites where these billion trees can be planted, and not just improve Australia’s carbon footprint, but also provide benefits beyond those needed by the economy.
Let’s hope in the future when a billion trees are planted, we will have a greener planet.