Now for a spot of good environmental news.
Swiss researchers have come upon a way to combat the growing threat of climate change, and it’s a surprisingly low-tech solution: Plant trees.
OK, plant a lot of trees. One trillion or so, according to the study co-authored by Thomas Crowther, a climate change ecologist with the Zurich-based Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
When they began their study, Crowther and his fellow researchers figured they would learn that high-tech approaches would dominate the discussion of the best way to mitigate global warming.
Not so, they found. Their study found that over the next several decades, the trillion new trees could suck about 830 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, roughly equal to the amount of carbon pollution humans have produced over the last 25 years.
“This is by far – by thousands of times, the cheapest climate change solution,” Crowther told The Associated Press, adding that there is plenty of room for new vegetation in the United States, Canada, Russia, China, Brazil and Australia, all without affecting human habitation.
Of course, Crowther said, the solution only works if humans also work the other end of the equation by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
Whether it is feasible to plant roughly 350 million square miles of trees is, of course, an open question. But the technology exists.
It’s called a seedling.