Tree Planting and Carbon Guilt

tree plantingI have long been an advocate of tree planting – particularly native species to abet ecological restoration. Indeed, I have planted over 1,000 myself over past years. Many are promoting the benefits of tree planting to address climate change [search] – suggesting that individual's and business' carbon emissions can be “offset” [search] by planting trees in lieu of absolute emission reductions. There exist many schemes which purport to sell tree planting as a means to become “carbon neutral” [search]. There is growing awareness that this approach is problematic because it promotes the perception that one can consume and emit as they have without concern. It is likely that if emissions are not dramatically cut, temperatures will increase to such an extent that many existing forests and planted trees will die, releasing their carbon and making the problem worse. By all means, plant trees, but do not think this obviates the need to reduce your emissions as well.

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14 Responses

  1. Scared says:

    Surely handing-on the problem to a middle-man only results in more work, more GDP and, at the end of the day, more emissions. Every company should take corporate responsibility for the pollution they produce, and I think there should be a compulsion for every company of over (for example) 10 employees to have a named (in anticipation of future legislation) Carbon Compliance Officer, who was personally culpable for any errors, like a Site Safety Officer is. If it's their neck on the line, you're sure of better results from their efforts.

  2. Brittany says:

    I totally agree with you. I think that no matter what we decide to do about the climate changes, everybody needs to take initiative with themselves on pollution and waste etc. Planting trees is definitely going to help, but if you just keep polluting the air and the earth, then things will never be solved. Companies definitely need to be aware of our current status as a nation and put someone in charge of their current situation to manage it and make sure that they aren't doing anymore damage than needed.

  3. JR says:

    How many trees must be planted for any noticeable difference is made? I agree that people should plant more trees, be more environmental friendly in regard to carbon emissions, and take control of their businesses, but we should also stop cutting down trees. Otherwise the trees being planted are just canceling out the action of destroying ones that were already in existence.

  4. what kind of trees should we plant? Evergreen? what ones take out the most co2?

  5. Anonymous says:

    My comment was send. I can do again,its very strange,but why not to try. We loosing white ice and have more water,which take 90% hit and start be warmer. My sugestion is to PAINT the TOP of HOMES and BUILDING for WHITE color,also every CAR /TOP/ for WHITE color. This intense WHITE start work like ICE. Why not try,cost not much.
    Bozenka

  6. Unfortunately the original poster is right, there is no substitute for reducing emissions. Here in the UK we are seeing BP doing a whole series of adverts claiming (through similar processes as the tree planting described) that you can now drive “carbon neutral”. Apart from the fact that this does nothing to encourage drivers to drive less and reduce CO2 emission, it also assumes that schemes like this will reduce CO2. Of course, this could take many many years, as trees grow to reach maturity. It's not automatic that they will reach maturity for some of the reasons mentioned, and badly managed tree plantations can be net produces of greenhouse gases too. Of course, trees only store carbon temporarily – at some point they'll rot, decay and return carbon to the atmosphere. No, if we're series about greenhouse gas reduction, we need to reduce the burning of fossil fuels asap.

  7. boo says:

    If it is any help, I had read somewhere that it takes quite a lot of trees to make even a tiny difference in reducing the warming. It was really very high number of trees-wish I had the info handy. I will still plant my native trees, but it seems reducing consumption and driving will have a bigger impact.

  8. Ru Hartwell says:

    Any offset company that claims to render an emissive activity 'carbon neutral' by planting trees is lying. At Treeflights we specifically warn our customers that the tree we plant for them will NOT make their flight carbon neutral.
    The first thing we all have to do is reduce our emissions to the absolute minimum. Only then should we consider offsetting the unavoidable remainder.
    If offset treeplanting is carried out with honesty and sensitivity it can play a critical part in our fight against climate change.

  9. B-Rod says:

    There are many different ways we can deal with global warming. One is to start limiting ourselves of how much we drive or how much energy we use up in the furation of a day. Or we could continue on with our normal lives with just the additional of planting some trees. Trees can really help clean out all the emissions we are putting in the environment without us putting anymore stress on our lives. I believe that the more popular idea would be planting trees and continuing on with out lives, but i think that there will also definetely be people who would want to change their whole lives to clean our environment.

  10. niel thomas says:

    Al Gore, It's so easy, a cave man can do it! So lets talk in simplicity and not philisophically, To answer ''What would Jesus drive?'' or ''what kind of light bulb He would use?'' or '' what kinda tree would he plant?''
    Well, 2000 years ago he rode into Jerusalem on a ass! In todays lingo, that must be a Honda or Toyota. I dont like American made cars either any more! Why?, like the ass, Honda's and Toyota's are dependable and low maintainance and affordable and of course, easy on the enviroment and fuel! I dont think Jesus would drive a Volkswagon because of its designer 70 years ago. If you dont know who that was and why, then it goes to show how much history and Bible reading is not being done anymore and what is being taught in its place in schools , Church and home and I am not going to answer that question for you and I rest my case! , but to say the least , He's driving no charriats of fire here!
    But since you brought Jesus into this debate and equasion, I will take the liberty to say in all humility , that when He comes again, the vehicle he will come in will cause conciderably some very real serious global warming! You dont get it do you? I didnt think so and I will explain.I will explain in testimony and certain truth and facts of science that will stand up to the test of time and against Al Gore and certainly will be a better solution and the only solution as oposed to Al Gore and the worlds inviromental woodstock concert of the blind leading the blind, if we will have the faith in about the amount of a mustard seed and really change the world and do some good! I think thats the kind of tree he would plant cause we need more faith than more ( great ideas!) Really think about who you are listening to here, A young, defiant , doped up impressionable group of musicians and I question alot of things about them, but I am not going to get into that any more here, But I would love a debate with him , them ,and Charles Darwin since they have the same philosophy about this planet.And I dont think I am alone in this way of thinking, that I have thought of something new or discovered something no one else has thought of.I think the answer is right under our nose and is as bright as the Sun (hint!)and allways has been for thousands of years.Nor do I want to set my self up as a politcal figure ,a prophet of doom ,a scientist,or claim to any fame like these so called watch dogs of the world do ,but I do want to sound my trump of warning and just wanna help in my own way just like the next guy or any one else .So lets reason together here and talk in simple english and in terms that a child or a cave man can understand since thats the way you talk .
    We all know by now, the planet is undoubtedly warming or maybe in some kind of distress. No question! Is mother nature moaning over the debauchery, sin and exploition of its human inhabitants and resources? Why certainly! Well then the planet is like the Constitution, Its like a 2 edged sword. In the hands of a moral, God fearing free society , its wholly adequate. In the hands of another, we will fail, fall and self destruct! Like the Constituion, this Earth will sustain us if we use it according to the design of its Creator. It was meant to do this! But we have drifted away from the one and only way to save it. And I can hear you ranting and rave allready saying, ''Bullcrap!” What is that one Comandment? Keep the Sabbath Day what? If you dont know , then God help us all! What did the Savior say about it. ''The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath''! So there you have it and go look it up yourself, for all you who like and seem to know the New Testiment and brought my friend Jesus into this debate! You think and ponder on that answer and you will be convinced, and the thought process will begin to open your mind , but in short I say this, ITS THE ONLY WAY!!!!
    What is most of our finite resources made for now? Think about it. All the wood and pulp and energy to print, publish and distibute the Sunday paper, what do you read in it? Crap! crime, debauchery, porn, materialism, junk mail,''global warming'', nothing much I want my kids to read about but what a waste! ( I heard you! '' its a free society'' thats the problem, its to free!)The waste of energy for television and music and what do you hear? Crap! Whats all your news about on tv? Mostly negative and the same ole, same ole, day after day and night after night. You'll hear the same thing today that you heard yesterday that you heard the day before that we heard for most of our lives like we will hear tomorrow till we die , and will it change anything? Probably not! What porportion of finite energy and resources you think is used to make that posible? I dont know either but I will bet my reputation against yours , that its no small amount or number of KW hours of electricity! Look at all the recreation that happens on Sunday! Sports, travel, shopping etc!!! Dont get me wrong here, I am not saying at all that we cant have fun, have leasure and enjoy life in what soever form. But think about it! Look at all the resources it takes to fight crime in the country. You vigoruosly defended criminals rights! Think about it for awhile, while our weak Congress who you was a part of Al Gore, legislates our laws in stupor thought, you're suppose to protect and lead us into a brighter future ,but your leading us into oblivion! Where are my leaders like my founding Fathers whom I admired? And I will explain why I say that. The emmense resources it takes to light our streets at night, house and pamper criminals, police our society with cars, man power, fuel, energy, facilties and prisons, jails, useless books, this is what a great porportion of are resourses are used for. Nothing positve here and the list goes on and on and on till the lights do go out and the party is over! Think about it! Have you seen the photos of the Earth from space at night and seen how from severall hundred miles up, the planet is all lit up at night to try to catch a few criminals. You dont seem to comprehend it , the amount of energy that takes for even one night! I would rather someone like Teddy Roosevelt declare martial law, a curfew at night and turn out the lights as aposed to buy a silly florecent light bulb! What the hell is that going to do? ( i do use them and have long before Al Gore came around and I do recomended them.) And if we do save some electricity, we go buy something to take up what power we save. To answer your other question, Its like Our supreme Creator had blessed and given man kind and nature the best flourecent light bulb we could ever imagine. But we would rather do most of our activities at night instead of from sun up to sun down, sleep all day and party all night and sleep all day some more and worship Paris Hilton. And If you dont know what I am refering to, then you must not see it rising up in the morning and proves my point! If you dont think my answers to the solution are valid, then its like you looking into the sun at noonday and saying, '' I dont see it!' And the wars of the the world! One B52 bomber will use more fuel in one flight than I can use in 20 years! That is a fact and I drive alot myself .We certainly turned our shears and plows into swords. And we sometimes are more concerned about our resources than we are of the Life lost. I wonder sometimes! Maybe Ben Ladden sees things my way! I am beginning to understand his point of view and simple life style! ( i'm trying to gain some points and favors with him for when he comes after me and the rest of western civilization.) We turn our tecknologies into war and destruction instead of usefull purposes and on and on and on! And Mr Gore, if your going to talk the talk, then walk the walk! And you too Mr. Joseph Kennedy! You guys fly around in lear jets to lecture us condecendingly, and live lavishly! I seldom call people hypocrits but this is the time I allways waited for and wanted to do it! And many people can come up with many more better reasons than I.
    So to put it into a nut shell, If you shut the Earth down for one day of seven, you would help the air, water and other resources and extend its finite resources into the future realistically and get quicker, and more meaningfull, lasting common sense results.Maybe not by a factor of one seventh or even one tenth of it design, but I am sure it will help and offer a better answer . We really wouldnt be missing much anyway would we, and you could relax! In other words, Mother earth and nature is SCREAMING at us for a one day off out of the week like the rest of us, and I will listen to Her and the Holy Writt before I will listen to the blind leading the blind who is Al Gore and Hillary and other critics and those who perform at the Woodstock of the World!
    Niel
    ps. care to armwrestle me on the topic of immagration?

  11. jc says:

    i have to agree witht the one day a week shut down. i have allways thought that maybe the entire globe should shut down for a couple weeks…just to let the earth “catch up”. scientifically it wouldnt take very long to go neutral if we would stop producing…so here is my thing. shut down all powerplants, facotories, gas stations, EVERYTHING for two weeks. (i know some cases this wont work..nuclear power etc) then sustain it by killing power to the grid on saturdays. now people have to spend time with there families and get out apprciate life again….just my two cent….
    PS Change all you lights out…the savings are dramatic and it does helpsave energy. i changed all mine out and my bill went down 75 dollars.

  12. There are other good options too, like caring for soil. In urban areas, I find a lot of emphasis on planting, but not near enough on preventing soil damage, which affects trees.
    Also, small things like sheet mulching gardening called lasagna gardening can cause trees to be cut down, because the cardboard is not recycled. So in areas where curbside recyling is available, sheet mulching no-till gardeners actually increase the carbon footprint, cause more trees to be cut, and trigger more sulfur dioxide to be put in the air. Imagine that.
    MDV / Oregon

  13. Muhiire Nathan says:

    MAKE UGANDA THE MOST GREEN COUNTRY (GREENEST) IN THE WHOLE WORLD!
    Targeting: The Chief Justice (The Judiciary of the Republic of Uganda), The President of the Republic of Uganda (State House) and The speaker of Parliament (Parliament of Uganda)
    Started by: Green Uganda
    PEOPLES' PETITION TO COMPEL THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA TO MAKE UGANDA THE MOST GREEN COUNTRY IN THE WHOLE WORLD BY PLANTING TREES IN EVERY PART OF THE COUNTRY
    This petition which is presented by Mwiine Derrick will be forwarded to Uganda's parliament.
    A 13 years old Ugandan lad Mwiine Derrick is behind the mobilisation of the masses where thousands of Ugandans have already signed his petition on paper to compel the government to plant trees in every part of his country. Hundreds have also confirmed their attendance & promised to escort Derrick to Uganda`s powerful parliament http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=115760311770037&index=1 where he will hand the petition to the speaker of the Ugandan parliament. So far several MPs both from NRM ruling party and the opposition have vowed to support Mwiine's petition all the way through. With your support, Uganda is likely to take the lead in fighting global warming!
    More about Mwiine Derrick
    Mwiine Derrick is someone who is so passionate about his country, Uganda:




    http://pearlafrica.blogspot.com
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mwiinederrick
    http://allafrica.com/stories/200908070617.html
    http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4671&Itemid=63
    Petition Text
    MAKE UGANDA THE MOST GREEN COUNTRY (GREENEST) IN THE WHOLE WORLD!
    COMRADES IN THE STRUGGLE,
    Be proud to be part of the struggle to save our world!
    Our environment is our future!
    PETITION
    We the undersigned patriotic Ugandans and friends of Uganda who are aware of climate change, the global warming and it's implications, People who love our motherland, a country which used to be so green, fertile with good climatic conditions, 'The pearl of Africa' which most of the foreigners fall in love with each time they visit, support the following petition; PEOPLES' PETITION TO COMPEL THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA TO MAKE UGANDA THE MOST GREEN COUNTRY IN THE WHOLE WORLD BY PLANTING TREES IN EVERY PART OF THE COUNTRY
    PEOPLES' PETITION TO COMPEL THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA TO MAKE UGANDA THE MOST GREEN (GREENEST)COUNTRY IN THE WHOLE WORLD BY PLANTING TREES IN EVERY PART OF THE COUNTRY
    THE APPEAL
    Please!
    Patriotic Ugandans and kind friends of Uganda in the whole world who are aware of climate change, the global warming and its implications, People who care and love our motherland, a country which used to be so green, fertile with good climatic conditions, 'The pearl of Africa' which most of the foreigners fall in love with each time they visit,
    Be there for Uganda!
    Be there for our motherland!
    Be there for our future!
    Be there for our children, grand children, & next generation!
    Be there for Mankind, Animals, Plants, & our planet!
    Be there for our world environment!
    Be there for God's hope, Love & his creation!
    OUR ENVIRONMENT IS OUR FUTURE!

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