Let us scientifically review the common question on climate change- will planting trees stop climate change?
Climate change is occurring because of the global warming effect of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). According to the Inter-Governmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC)projects, global average temperatures of 2.6 to 4.8 degrees Celsius will be higher than the present by this century. Even if emissions were to be stopped immediately, temperatures would remain elevated for centuries due to greenhouse gases from past human emissions.
We can prevent the most severe effects of climate change affecting the planet by keeping the rise in average global temperature since pre-industrial times below 2 degrees C.
Human activities have caused greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to show a sustained rise since 1750. Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are the major contributors to greenhouse gases. Of the last four decades, each decade has been successfully warmer than any decade that preceded it since 1850. The World Resources Institute (WRI) estimates that the total GHGs in 2016 equaled 49.4 Gt CO2 equivalent. Sixty-five percent of all carbon emissions came from energy use.
Trees and oceans absorb and hold carbon in the air. It is, for this reason, these are called carbon sinks. These will help bring the atmospheric load of carbon air down. The destruction of forests and other ecosystems undermines nature’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases.
However, the solution to slowing the pace of global warming lies in changing the nature of human activity that today is dependent on fossil fuel-based energy. Planting trees will help, but the world has to decarbonize to prevent vast parts of humanity face climate-induced catastrophe. Just by planting trees, we will not be able to reverse global warming trends.
Decarbonization will require changing the energy mix away from fossil fuels to renewables, optimizing energy consumption in industries and transports, and a host of other strategies.