Land available for forest restoration (excluding deserts, agricultural and urban areas; current forestland not shown). (Image: Crowther Lab / ETH Zurich)
Research shows a trillion trees could be planted to capture huge amount of carbon dioxide
This remarkable report, first published in the journal Science, offers what appears to be our best single hope of tackling the climate emergency.
A worldwide effort to restore trees would be the single biggest and cheapest way to pull carbon out of the atmosphere. Researchers have found that there is 1.7 billion hectares of treeless land on which 1.2 trillion trees could grow without sacrificing crop land or urban areas. In 50–100 years, those trees would remove 200 billion tonnes of carbon — two-thirds of all emissions from human activities so far. But every year, we are pumping out tens of millions of tonnes more carbon, so new trees are just part of a solution that must also include slashing greenhouse-gas emissions (and protecting the trees we’ve already got).