Australia plans to plant 1 billion new trees to fight climate change, according to the country’s Prime Minister.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison released a media statement last week that described an ambitious new plan to plant 1 billion trees by the year 2050. This is the first real effort the country has made toward combating climate change.
The only real problem is finding enough space to plant that many trees. That’s a lot of trees, but such a feat is integral to even come close to meeting Australia’s part of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Currently, Australia produces roughly 570 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses. Australia promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% by the year 2030, which would mean getting that number down to 430-442 million metric tons -still a lot, but it’s a lot less, which is the whole point.
An OECD report from last month revealed that Australia is nowhere near on track to reach that target, as it still relies primarily on coal for its power generation. Coal, as we all know, is horrifically bad for the environment and spews a lot of toxic gasses into the air when it's burned. Sadly, roughly 2/3rds of Australia’s power comes from burning coal, and a lot of Australia’s coal reserves are exported to China who also burns coal for power.
So far, Australia hasn’t done much of anything to reach the Paris Climate Accord, but news of planting 1 billion trees is a good first step. According to the Australian government, their plan will reduce greenhouse gases by 18 million tons overall by the 2030 deadline, which leaves them with just 100 million more tons to go.
Morrison also stated that the plan would offer new jobs to Australians looking to travel to the furthest stretches of the country/continent in order to find space for all those trees. Australia’s forestry industry contributes $23 billion (in Aussie dollars) to the national economy, and this investment of 1 billion trees will not only help that industry but the environment as a whole.
That being said, a billion trees is a billion trees, and even with a team of 30,000 people planting a tree per day for the next 31 years, the final tally would still only be 339,450,000 trees. Australia will need a tree army to get that many trees planted by 2050.