The Earth is warming at an alarming rate. Although there are numerous factors involved, it is important to be aware that our energy consumption has a considerable impact on the climate.
Despite the fact that many countries try to decrease their emissions of greenhouse gases, it can be difficult to change people’s habits and reduce their heating bills.
Fortunately, research done by David J. Nowak and Marc Abrams from the University of Illinois shows another way how citizens can contribute to minimizing global warming – simply plant trees!
Nowak and Abrams used computer simulations to analyze two different strategies for reducing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere: one was planting more trees which absorb CO2 during photosynthesis; the other option was investing in alternative energy sources such as solar panels, wind turbines and wave energy converters.
The scientists compared these two strategies for reducing atmospheric CO2 – both in isolation and combined – to see which approach would be more beneficial.
“Our analysis demonstrates that tree planting, even on a rather short timescale of 50 years, is an effective means of removing carbon from the atmosphere,” Nowak said. Their study found that by planting enough trees to cover 25% of the world’s vegetated land mass, nearly one-quarter of current atmospheric CO2 concentration could be absorbed.
The researchers also discovered that while planting trees does not have a significant effect on temperature or rainfall patterns in most regions worldwide, it does cause a decrease in local surface air temperatures ranging from 0.9 °C to 2 °C. As global temperatures continue to rise, this could become an increasingly important benefit.
“The cooling effect of trees in summer reduces the energy needed for air conditioning, helping to save money and reduce emissions from power plants,” Abrams said. “In winter, the warming effect of trees can reduce heating costs.”
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It is evident that planting trees has many benefits for both the environment and humans. Not only do they absorb CO2 and help to stabilize the climate, they also provide shade and shelter, improve air quality, increase property values and create jobs. So, the next time you are looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint, don’t forget to plant a tree!
The Earth is gradually getting warmer because of the numerous greenhouse gases we’re emitting into the atmosphere. While many countries try to decrease their emissions, it can be difficult to change people’s habits and reduce their heating bills.