Can Planting Trees Solve the Climate Crisis?


Have you heard this one before? “One tree planted for every purchase made.”

Chances are, you have, and probably more than once. Trees have become the poster child for demonstrating a commitment to environmental sustainability, with a constantly growing list of businesses, politicians, and nonprofits rallying around the idea that we can use forests to climb out of the climate crisis we’ve created through our use of fossil fuels.

And why not? The roughly 3 trillion trees currently on Earth sequester about a third of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, harnessing the power of photosynthesis to convert CO2 into biomass and energy. Tree planting initiatives simply propose upscaling the process. But, how much can we realistically upscale? And how much CO2 would actually be stored?

In our latest video, we look at different strategies for using forests to remove atmospheric carbon dioxide, and how scientists assess the global CO2 storage capacity of each of these strategies.

This video is the first in a series on Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) techniques, in which Climate Now explores the benefits and limitations of each CDR method, including mineralization, oceans, soil sequestration and others.

Climate Now is a recently-launched multimedia platform that produces expert-led, accessible, in-depth podcast and video episodes addressing the climate crisis and its solutions, explaining the science, technologies and key economic and policy considerations at play in the global effort to decarbonize our energy system and larger economy.

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