House Republicans propose planting a trillion trees as they move away from climate change denial - Associated Press

When [House Speaker Kevin McCarthy] was asked about climate change and forest fires, he was ready with a response: Plant a trillion trees.

The idea — simple yet massively ambitious — revealed recent Republican thinking on how to address climate change. The party is no longer denying that global warming exists, yet is searching for a response to sweltering summers, weather disasters and rising sea levels that doesn’t involve abandoning their enthusiastic support for American-produced energy from burning oil, coal and gas.

Scientists overwhelmingly agree that heat-trapping gases released from the combustion of fossil fuels are pushing up global temperatures, upending weather patterns around the globe and endangering animal species. But the solution long touted by Democrats and environmental advocates — government action to force emissions reductions — remains a non-starter with most Republicans.

Enter the idea of planting a trillion trees. A 2019 study suggested that planting trees to suck up heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere could be one of the most effective ways to fight climate change. Major conservation groups, and former President Donald Trump, who downplayed humanity’s role in climate change, embraced the idea.

But the tree-planting push has drawn intense pushback from environmental scientists who call it a distraction from cutting emissions from fossil fuels. The authors of the original study have also clarified that planting trees does not eliminate “the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Planting one trillion trees would also require a massive amount of space — roughly the size of the continental United States. And more trees could even increase the risk of wildfires by serving as fuel in a warming world.

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Associated Press

Organizations: Republican Party (GOP) 

People: Kevin McCarthy Donald Trump 

Tags: Climate Change Fire Environmentalism Fossil Fuel 

Type: Headlines