According to Inter-Governmental Panel for Climate Change projections, we will see global average temperatures 2.6 to 4.8 degrees Celsius higher than the present by the turn of this century. Even if emissions were to be stopped immediately, temperatures would remain elevated for centuries due to the effect of greenhouse gases from past human emissions. To prevent the most severe impacts of climate change, we will need to keep the rise in average global temperature below 2 degrees C since pre-industrial times.
Renewable energy, including wind, solar, geothermal, and bioenergy, will rise from 5 percent in 2018 to around 90 percent in primary energy consumption by 2050. The share of hydrogen – green and blue is also expected to grow. This increase will come at the expense of hydrocarbons, whose share will decline from 85 percent in 2018 to approximately 40 percent or 20 percent by 2050.
Even if the world achieves its Net Zero carbon emission ambition by 2070, global warming reversal is unlikely. However, with renewables, including hydrogen, nuclear, and hydroelectric, in the energy basket, the world will be able to achieve its drift to a complete climate disaster.
To effectively address global warming, a comprehensive approach is needed, which includes the following:
- Reducing energy consumption: Using less energy is an effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This can be achieved through energy-efficient technologies and behavior changes, such as turning off lights and electronics when not in use.
- Decarbonizing the energy sector: Transitioning to renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and hydropower, can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector. However, this alone is insufficient, and other sectors must also reduce their emissions.
- Reducing emissions from other sectors: Addressing other sectors, such as transportation and industrial processes, is also critical for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Protecting and restoring ecosystems: Protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, such as forests and wetlands, can help absorb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
- Adapting to the impacts of climate change: While mitigation efforts are necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is also critical to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change that are already underway.
Tree planting is a promising solution for addressing global warming, as trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and store it in their biomass. However, the potential estimates for tree planting to reverse global warming are difficult to determine precisely, as they depend on several factors, such as the planted trees, the planting area’s location and size, and the growth and maintenance of the trees over time.
Several studies have attempted to estimate the potential impact of tree planting on global warming. One study published in the journal Science estimated that global tree planting could remove two-thirds of the carbon dioxide emissions produced by human activities since the Industrial Revolution, equivalent to about 25% of the total atmospheric carbon dioxide increase since that time.
Another study published in the same journal estimated that a worldwide effort to plant one trillion trees could sequester 205 gigatons of carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the trees, which is roughly two-thirds of the carbon dioxide that has been released into the atmosphere as a result of human activities since the Industrial Revolution.
While tree planting has great potential to mitigate the effects of global warming, it is important to note that it cannot be the only solution. Tree planting will aid carbon capture efforts, but I doubt it alone will be able to prevent a climate armageddon.