Paying lip service to the solutions

Tuesday 1st March 2022 10:00 am

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TREE EMERGENCY: As I write this article just after last week’s storm, the tree shortfalls will be hundreds of thousands more.

Here are some quotes from the Woodland Trust: ‘the tree cover in the UK is 13.4% of the land. This is up from 12% in 1998, which is mainly due to non-native commercial conifer plantations. (not long term carbon sinks) Carbon held in these trees is 213 million tonnes of carbon.

The long-established woodlands hold 36% (77 million tonnes) even though they make up just 25% of all woodlands.

Tree cover is increasing in the UK, but nowhere near fast enough to meet the climate crisis. We need to plant 30,000 hectares per year to reach carbon net zero by 2050.

We need to quadruple current rates of tree planting if we are to reach our target.

Spring is now happening on average 8.4 days earlier than just a few decades ago. For the blue tits, who hatch later than the caterpillar they feed on, this can be catastrophic!’

Reading the web sites of the Woodland Trust and the National Trust and seeing all the trees we have lost in the UK over the last year or two; which runs into millions of trees, means we need to plant far more trees than we are achieving.

This can be multiplied many times across the globe. While we strive to plant more trees to stop climate change, it seems just as many are succumbing to storms and disease.

Planting billions of trees across the planet is one of the main mitigating measures to stop ever growing global temperature rises.

The fact that many countries are still cutting down tropical forests, it seems at this time, we humans aren’t even achieving this low tech plan of saving climate disaster.

I wonder most weeks, how long it will take before governments understand that trees need long-term land to grown on, and this is opposite to the UK’s policies of building on farmers’ fields, or any spare land?

We should be planting more trees and making new wildlife habitats on this land. Governments won’t tell you, but environmentalists and naturalists will, and they tell us that although we like to kid ourselves, we can’t have both great tree planting plans and wildlife reserves, and build one million new homes ever three years, it just doesn’t add up mathematically or with the available land!

This is why we are nowhere near our tree planting targets to even put a dent into climate change.

I think the public are more educated than the government gives credit for.

It must be time to stop pretending we can carry on year after year taking all the spare land for housing and at the same time playing lip service to the solutions to climate change – which is still happing before our eyes.

So what’s driving this rock and a hard place situation? As it was stated on the Radio 4 programme last week, (39 ways of stopping climate change) population growth is the driving force for more land going over to housing.

I will give some updates in the coming weeks on the CO2 levels once we hit the 420 PPM, (50% up) which looks like being soon.