Plan to plant new forests to fight global warming welcomed
Moves to develop new forests to help reverse the impact of climate change have been welcomed by Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox.
He was commenting after Europe’s biggest oil company, Royal Dutch Shell, announced a 300-million-dollar plan to plant millions of trees to reduce its carbon footprint.
This follows an announcement by the Earth Day Network to grow 7.8 billion more trees, one for every person on earth, by its 50th anniversary on April 22, 2020, as part of its Canopy Project.
Meanwhile, the UK government’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said last week that almost three billion trees must be planted by 2050 as part of Britain’s contribution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero”.
At present the UK has to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050 to meet the Paris climate agreement which seeks to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels to avoid dangerous climate change.
But the CCC wants that cut to net zero by that year, meaning remaining emissions are balanced by sucking carbon from the atmosphere. One way to do that is to plant more trees.
“The benefits of trees are extraordinary,” said Ron. “Trees filter the air removing CO2 from the atmosphere while the destruction of forests releases more CO2 into the atmosphere,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park.
“In just one year, a mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen as 10 people inhale over the same period.”
Combined with the sun’s energy, the trees capture carbon dioxide by taking it into their cells through photosynthesis and the carbon is converted into trunks, branches, roots and leaves.
A tree, which is comprised of about 50 per cent carbon, is returned into the atmosphere, through natural processes or human interference, thus completing the carbon cycle.
Royal Dutch Shell is also giving motorists the choice of paying more for fuel to fund projects offsetting the emissions that they generate by driving.
This is being launched in the Netherlands and will be rolled out at Shell’s petrol stations later this year.
“However, although it is good to encourage companies and householders to plant trees they make only a limited contribution to reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere,” added Ron
Research by the United Nations body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), showed that tree-planting could remove from the atmosphere) around 1.1–1.6 gigatons of CO2 per year, compared to total global greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 50 gigatons of CO2 in a year.
“Putting in more trees is just one of many changes that we have to make,” added Ron.
“We need also to replace gas boilers with green alternatives, build 6,000 more offshore wind turbines to provide low carbon electricity, switch to electric cars and improve the insulation of our homes to cut our energy bills and to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”
To find out more about moving to green energy contact Ron on 0845 474 6641 or 078171 26945 or go to www.noreus.co.uk.