21. Where and with whom are we going to plant trees?

21st blog, March 12, 2019

For the Netherlands, we only need 12 million hectares of trees to decompose all CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels. That is 2.9 times the area of ​​our country. Compared with the 2 billion hectares we need to make the whole world CO₂ neutral, such a small area is easy to organize. In the United States, approximately 862 million acres of severely eroded land could be restored. Planting this degraded land would offset 5 billion tons of CO₂ per year, which is more than the USA emits. Planting productive trees would make the USA the first CO₂ neutral country in the world, with a money making and job creating business model.

If we weigh the social aspect heavily, then we can choose to do the plantations in countries that are heavily plagued by poverty because of their degraded land.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Economic Development of the Netherlands, or of your country,  can seek cooperation with other countries that are in great need of plant programs on a large scale with productive trees. We can think of cooperation with NGO’s such as Oiko, Oxfam Novib or the African One Acre Fund. Major funds or banks can also become partners, e.g. the Inter-American Development Bank or the African Development Fund. Groasis already has a partner program with the UN World Food Program as part of the 'Zero hunger by 2030' project.

Planting can be done at all places in the world that are plagued by erosion, heat and land degradation. In this way we prevent land-grabbing of fertile land, which is criticised because people who have been living there for thousands of years are suddenly driven away from their land. Although 2.9 times the surface of the Netherlands seems like a lot, countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Tanzania and South Africa are all about 30 times the size of the Netherlands. This means that if we make 10% of the area of ​​one of these countries fertile and locally prosperous through the planting of productive trees, the Netherlands will become 100% CO₂ neutral.

Countries can offer other countries a helping hand to increase their prosperity, while they ourselves become CO₂ neutral. Norway gives us a great example: it has signed an agreement with Indonesia to plant trees at its cost in Indonesia and thus reduce CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere. This is a break through for the concept of the Treesolution.

In the next blog we will discuss other matters that are very important. Will you follow us and share the message? The blog is called ‘Who determines the priorities?

Pieter Hoff
Green Musketeer

Background information
On 8 October 2018, the IPCC (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) issued an emergency call to all countries to reduce their CO₂ emissions by at least 50% by 2030. The Netherlands wants to comply with this by means of a Climate Agreement. Pieter Hoff is of the opinion that the Climate Agreement needs additional policies to achieve 0% net CO₂ emissions by 2030 and that this supporting policy can be implemented much more efficiently, quicker and less costly than the current proposals that are included in the proposed Dutch Climate Agreement.