Planting trees possible solution to global warming, scientists suggest
Share article:
Share article:

Planting trees possible solution to global warming, scientists suggest

© Belga

A team of researchers has calculated that there is enough space on Earth to plant enough trees to absorb two-thirds of the carbon dioxide in the air.

This proposed solution to climate change, contained in a study published on Thursday in Science magazine, has however been described as exaggerated by other scientists.

In their study, professors of ETH Zurich University estimate that the Earth has enough space for 900 million more canopies, in addition to the 2.8 billion hectares of trees it currently has. They arrived at this figure by analysing the existing forests and taking climate and soil into consideration to see where trees could grow, excluding areas already under cultivation or occupied by cities.  

These additional forests would have the capacity to absorb 205 gigatonnes of carbon, out of the 300 gigatonnes added to the atmosphere since the late 19th Century and the start of the industrial era. Half of the areas that could be reforested are in six countries: Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil and China.

According to the study’s main author, Jean-François Bastin, governments need to take this into consideration in their national strategies against climate change.

The team argues that the reforestation goal, set last year by UN climate experts, of one billion hectares is “absolutely achievable in the current climate”.

It concludes that restoring the world’s ecosystems is “the most effective solution at our disposal” for countering climate change.

However, this conclusion has sparked criticism from specialists in Earth sciences, some of whom also feel that the methodology is simplistic or wrong.

Myles Allen, a geosystems professor at Oxford University said heroic reforestation could be useful, but people should stop saying there is a natural solution to using fossil fuels. “There isn’t any,” he said. “Sorry!”

In another commentary, published by Science Media Centre in the UK, University College London professor Simon Lewis wrote that new forests could play a role in absorbing excess carbon emissions, but the only way to stabilise the climate was to lower greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

The Brussels Times


Latest news

European Council: Decisions on Covid-19 and energy and debate on other issues
At the two-days summit which ended on Friday, the European Council adopted conclusions on COVID-19, digital, energy prices, migration, trade and ...
Flanders ‘water bomb’ could cause €2 billion in damages and affect thousands
The next "water bomb" or heavy rainfall over Flanders could cause damages estimated at around €2 billion, and could affect up to 100,000 people in ...
Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective in 5 to 11-year-olds
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic forms of the coronavirus in children aged five to 11, Pfizer announced on ...
Belgian airport named best for cargo in Europe
Brussels Airport has been named the best airport in Europe in a 2021 roundup of the best cargo airports across the world. The Asian Freight, ...
NASA plans first return mission to Moon in February 2022
The United States space agency, NASA, has announced that it will be aiming to launch its first, uncrewed mission to the moon, Artemis 1, in February ...
New, reportedly more contagious Delta mutation being monitored
A new mutation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is reported to be more contagious, is being monitored by health authorities in the ...
Angèle releases new single: ‘Bruxelles je t’aime’
Belgian singer Angèle has unveiled her latest song ahead of the release of her new album, due later this year. 'Bruxelles je t'aime' (Brussels I ...
23 million chickens and 1.7 million pigs: Climate experts call for livestock cut
Flander's livestock needs to be drastically cut to save the climate and reach the emission reduction targets, according to the latest advice from the ...
Vaccination uptake surges in Wallonia following CST announcement
The number of people getting vaccinated against the coronavirus increased fourfold in Wallonia after it was announced that the Covid Safe Ticket ...
Guilty by association
BRUSSELS BEHIND THE SCENES Weekly analysis and untold stories With SAM MORGAN Other Brussels behind the scenes stories: Brussels' bid to make ...
Health minister supports use of Covid Safe Ticket in workplace
As the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) has been expanded in Brussels and is set to in Wallonia, federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has ...
Maggots show Conings may have lived longer following disappearance
Former army soldier Jürgen Conings, whose disappearance in mid-May resulted in a month-long manhunt, may have been alive for longer than has been ...