It’s the unspoken part of the climate equation, and deserves a fair hearing.
Climate activists focus on ending the use of fossil fuels to the exclusion of everything else, when evidence and experience suggests that it’s impractical at best, and impossible at worst, to do such a thing. Who will invade China and India to force them to give up gas, diesel, coal, and natural gas? Who will pay the many trillions of dollars for such a transition?
The alternative, or at least complementary, approach, is some form of geoengineering, where we take carbon out of the air.
In a nod to the growing concern over climate change, Republican lawmakers will propose such a plan. They want to plant one trillion trees over the next 30 years, which will dramatically reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. That’s 130 trees for every man, woman, and child on the planet.
President Donald Trump supported the idea in Davos last month.
In addition to planting trees, the legislation will encourage the use of wood products, which keep carbon from re-entering the atmosphere after it has been consumed by trees. Other elements of the plan, which will be released in additional bills over the coming weeks, will focus on sequestering carbon from power plants, recycling plastics and boosting “clean” energy, including natural gas and nuclear, according to congressional staff.
Environmentalists are certain to hate the idea because it doesn’t make oil and gas the evil empire and call for the complete end of those fuel sources.
But geoengineering has support from governments which recognize that telling their populations to park their cars and turn off their electricity is a non-starter.
Last July, Ethiopia set a world record by planting over 350 million trees in 12 hours as part of a green campaign by Prime Minister Aiby Ahmed.
James Mulligan, a senior associate at the World Resources Institute, said mass tree planting could reduce 180 million–360 million tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2040 if implemented correctly.
The technology is obvious and effective. Plants consume carbon. If the approach gains traction, it could provide a new avenue for addressing climate concerns while also frustrating climate alarmists, a win-win for Republicans.