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Trump creates federal government council on global tree planting initiative

Trump creates federal government council on global tree planting initiative
© Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump's Facebook ban to stay in place, board rules Trump allies launching nonprofit focused on voter fraud DOJ asks for outside lawyer to review Giuliani evidence MORE on Tuesday signed an executive order involving the federal government in a global tree planting initiative that already has private sector participation in the U.S.

The executive order creates a council that’s in charge of “developing, coordinating, and promoting Federal Government interactions with the Initiative with respect to tree growing, restoration, and conservation.”

The council will also create methods to track and measure the number of trees planted, conserved or restored and address any laws and regulations that get in the way of these actions. 

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“On January 21, 2020, I announced that to further protect the environment, the United States would be joining the World Economic Forum's One Trillion Trees initiative... an ambitious global effort to grow and conserve one trillion trees worldwide by 2030,” the executive order said. 

“Following through on my commitment, and given the expansive footprint of our Federal forests and woodlands, this order initiates the formation of the United States One Trillion Trees Interagency Council to further the Federal Government's contribution to the global effort,” it continued. 

The order did not specify how many trees the federal government would seek to grow or conserve. 

The Trump administration has touted its decision to join the World Economic Forum’s Trillion Trees Initiative, which plans to grow, restore and conserve that many trees across the globe, as an action it has taken to better the environment. 

However, it has also taken steps to reduce restrictions on the timber industry cutting down trees. 

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It has proposed, for example, opening up a previously protected 9.37 million acre area of the Tongass National Forest to logging. That forest is a major carbon sink, meaning its trees soak up carbon from the atmosphere, lessening the impacts of climate change.

Scientists have said planting trees can help but that it isn’t a panacea and that the U.S. will also have to significantly reduce its emissions to mitigate climate change impacts. 

The new council will be chaired by Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueSonny PerdueThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Georgia election day is finally here; Trump hopes Pence 'comes through for us' to overturn results Civil war between MAGA, GOP establishment could hand Dems total control Trump administration races to finish environmental rules, actions MORE, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, Trump’s economic advisor Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE and and Deputy Chief of Staff Christopher LiddellChristopher Pell LiddellOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump creates federal council on global tree planting initiative | Green group pushes for answers on delayed climate report | Carbon dioxide emissions may not surpass 2019 levels until 2027: analysis Trump creates federal government council on global tree planting initiative MORE

Other council members are  presidential advisers Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpJill Biden a key figure in push to pitch White House plans CNN: Trump advisers urge him to make pro-vaccine PSA Fox News's Bret Baier posts vaccination selfie MORE and Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerRepublicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process Iran moves closer to a diplomatic breakthrough that may upset Israel Trump alumni launch America First Policy Institute MORE, and several cabinet members including Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoDNC gathers opposition research on over 20 potential GOP presidential candidates Dozens of scientists call for deeper investigation into origins of COVID-19, including the lab theory Pence urges 'positive' agenda to counter Biden in first speech since leaving office MORE, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says MORE, Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperCourt declines to dismiss Amazon challenge against JEDI decision Inspector general chose not to investigate Secret Service in clearing of Lafayette Square: report The paradox of US-India relations MORE, EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerEx-Trump Interior, EPA leaders find new posts Senate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation Fine-particle pollution disproportionately hurts people of color: research MORE and Education Secretary Betsy Devos. 

A total of 26 companies, cities and nonprofit organizations announced in August that they too would participate in the program, with the goal of planting or conserving 855 million trees by 2030.

The cities of Detroit and Dallas and companies Mastercard, Microsoft and Bank of America, are among those that are participating. 

President Trump announced in January that the U.S. would participate in the initiative, saying at the time that the country "will continue to show strong leadership in restoring, growing and better managing our trees and our forests.”