US officially joins global trillion tree planting initiative
The U.S. is officially participating in a global program that aims to plant 1 trillion trees worldwide, something that Republicans, including President Trump, have latched on to as a way to combat climate change.
The U.S. chapter of the One Trillion Trees program, launched Thursday, aims to plant at least 855 million trees by 2030.
The goal of the initiative is to try to pull carbon out of the air through reforestation, though scientists have said planting trees isn’t a panacea and that the U.S. will also have to significantly reduce its emissions to mitigate climate change impacts.
As of its launch, 26 nonprofit organizations, cities and companies in the U.S. have committed to participate in the program. They include the cities of Detroit and Dallas and companies Mastercard, Microsoft and Bank of America, as well as organizations like the American Forest Foundation.
The global One Trillion Trees Initiative was launched through the World Economic Forum, and Trump announced in January that the U.S. would join.
He said at the time that the country “will continue to show strong leadership in restoring, growing and better managing our trees and our forests.”
This is one of the few initiatives supported by the Trump administration that actually seeks to limit climate change. It also has sought to roll back measures meant to limit emissions from vehicles, power plants and the oil and gas sector, steps likely to exacerbate climate change.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt celebrated the news on Thursday, tweeting that the department would partner with the organization to “restore & conserve our forests.”
Asked for more details, Interior spokesperson Ben Goldey said in an email that the department is “setting goals to increase our focus on conservation and land health” but did not provide specifics.
Following @realDonaldTrump’s bold lead, the U.S. Chapter of the Trillion Trees Initiative launched today. @Interior is partnering with @1t_org to restore & conserve our forests having planted more than 58 million trees the last three years. pic.twitter.com/2xHR2O7rR8
— Secretary David Bernhardt (@SecBernhardt) August 27, 2020
House Republicans have also gotten behind the trillion trees idea, including a tree-planting bill from Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) as part of the party’s climate plan, announced earlier this year, that largely focused on capturing and sequestering carbon.