7 BILLION TREES
But Only in the Tropics
Tropical trees cool earth most effectively. NASA estimates that there are currently 400 billion trees globally. Every newly planted tree seedling in the tropics removes an average of 50 kilograms of CO2 from the atmosphere each year during its growth period of 20–50 years, compared with 13 kilograms of CO2 per year for a tree in the temperate regions. Remember that tropical trees work 12 months of the year sequestering carbon because there is no dormant winter season. We need more Billions of Trees .
The addition of just 7 billion trees (one for every person on Earth) would therefore give us a further 16 years of safe climate at our current rate of emissions. During this time one would hope we will be able to increase renewable energy use, energy efficiency etc so as to reduce our current emissions to sustainable levels.
An average of $6 billion per year plus $1 billion for incentives for ten years could pay for the reforestation program. The total cost of $7 billion per year for ten years is about 1% of the world’s total annual military expenditures.
Most tropical hardwoods grow to maturity quickly (10 to 20 years) Compare a 5 year old tropical tree to a five year old northern counterpart, and you can easily see the difference in size: half of wood weight is carbon.
Tropical trees take up water from rainfall and evaporate it through their leaves, and create cloud cover. These clouds reflect even more sunlight than grasslands or bare earth, thus cooling the earth more. By contrast, trees in snowy places like Canada, Scandinavia and Siberia absorb sunlight that would otherwise be reflected back to space by the bright white snow. But in the tropics forests helped cool the planet by an average of 0.7C, according to one study.
Forests act as a carbon sink by taking carbon dioxide out of atmosphere, but the more the climate is warming, the slower the trees are growing, the less carbon they suck up. These acclimated trees release far less CO2 at night, which are trees suddenly exposed to hot temperatures. This hints that future CO2 emissions from Northern Hemisphere forests won’t be as large as scientists thought, even though they would still be on the rise.
It seems like simple arithmetic: a tree can absorb up to a ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime (25 years), so planting one should be an easy way to mitigate climate change.
Over time they deplete their resources and are much more susceptible to additional stressors, such as damage by fire or a big drought or insect outbreaks.
The Perfect Storm
When escalating global warming crosses one or more of the important climate tipping points you create the perfect storm of perfect storms: irreversible global warming. This will destabilize the global; it will then destabilize the global political landscape of functioning nations. As the climate, the global economy, and the political landscape of functioning nations destabilize, it will soon destabilize all of the normal social aspects of our individual lives, businesses, and organizations.
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