25. Is Pieter Hoff the Don Quixote of the 21st century?

25th blog, March 16 2019

The Dutch government issues capital to subsidies for the 'reduction' of CO₂ emissions. As you now understand, this 'reduction' is indeed a reduction of emissions, but not a reduction of the concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere. The concentration still goes - albeit slowed - up. If you reduce emissions by 49%, around 51% CO₂ will still be added to the atmosphere. With the aim of tackling climate change, the Netherlands therefore subsidizes all sorts of things that do not work against climate change.

The only instrument that humanity actually has available to reduce the CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere - the tree - is excluded by the Dutch government. You can hardly believe it, but the following is literally in the terms of this grant:

What you cannot do within this part:

  • projects that focus on temporary storage or permanent storage of CO₂ on land

Is my attempt to convince the government and climate experts in the Netherlands - who do not want to accept trees as a solution to climate change - a Don Quixote fight? Am I tilting at medieval windmills?

Let's see how science and governments outside the Netherlands think about it:

in 2003 we started with our Groasis inventions, in 2008 we published The Treesolution and opened the URLs www.onetrilliontrees.com  and www.onetrilliontrees.org . Now 11 years later, scientists are beginning to support our position of the Treesolution and some have started to publish that a trillion trees should be planted, the number that we recommended in our book. Dr. Thomas Crowther says that scientists 'underestimated the potential of trees to combat climate change on a huge scale'. He also says that 'if we plant a trillion of extra trees, this would surpass any other method for tackling climate change - from building wind turbines to vegetarian diets'. This Don Quichote wrote that in 2008.

In 2008 the Treesolution - and recently in the blog 'The deforestation' - I wrote that the influence of deforestation on the increase of the CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere is certainly as high as the emission of CO₂ as a result of the consumption of fossil fuels, because we "destroy the instrument of Mother Earth to dissolve CO₂." How does science outside the Netherlands look at it? Well, they share this view. See this example: the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Edinburgh say that the 'global climate targets will be missed if deforestation continues on this scale'.

Where the Netherlands does not accept trees as climate solution, there is now a different opinion in Europe. A few weeks ago the European Union published the following press release:

  • Technologies for removing CO₂ (they use the word ‘removing’, no longer the word ‘reduction’) from the atmosphere must be integrated into climate policy by 2019, say national science academies across the EU EASAC - Scientific advice for the well-being of Europe.
  • Climate models suggest that an early application of NETs (Negative Emission Technologies e.g. the Treesolution) in parallel with mitigation offers a greater chance to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement (Paris Cop21) and to prevent catastrophic consequences for the environment and society, then later on in this century to apply on a larger scale to the NET.
  • The EU and national governments should identify a European research, development and demonstration program for NETs that is in line with their own skills and industrial base.
  • Reducing deforestation, reforestation, increasing the carbon content in the soil and improving wetlands remain the most cost-effective and viable approaches to CDR, and should now be implemented as low-cost solutions that are relevant to both developed and developing countries. This is the Treesolution, isn’t it?

Australia is also embracing the Treesolution concept. The Australian government published a 2 billion Australian Dollar fund in which vegetation management is accepted as a method to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere.

Furthermore, 21 countries have chosen agroforestry as a permitted solution for obtaining carbon credits. Finally, Norway has signed an agreement with Indonesia to plant trees at its cost in Indonesia and thus reduce CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere. Here they do what we advocated in the blog 'The territorial CO₂ limitation': 'let us outsource the solution of the CO₂ problem to developing countries and help them increase their prosperity'.

It is an unstoppable trend: except for the Netherlands, many governments and many scientists see more and more that the tree is the key to lowering the CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere. The world is ready for and implementing the Treesolution as a flanking policy during the transition period from fossil to sustainable energy. I therefore leave you to conclude whether after reading the 25 blogs about the Treesolution against climate change, you will find me a Don Quixote, or a Green Musketeer. Thank you for reading my blogs. I hope you keep on following us.

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.