Importance of Natural Resources

Can we plant enough trees to fix climate change? | Eternally Curious #3

Every year, with our cars and factories and farms
we emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. A lot of it. 36 billion tons every single
year. All this dumping has increased the concentration
of CO2 to 400 ppm today. OK, wait a minute, what does that mean? Well, imagine the atmosphere as this square.
Let’s make it 1000 pixels on each side, so that there’s a total of 1 million pixels.
This is how much oxygen there is. This is argon. And this is CO2. It’s a teeny tiny
square of just 20 pixels on each side. It’s so small it’s hard to see when you zoom out. But how can something so small in proportion
have such a big effect? It’s not difficult to imagine if you look
at what a few drops can do to a glass of water. So it’s very important to keep CO2 very stable
and not mess with the concentration. Unfortunately, we’ve been messing with it
quite a lot. In the pre-industrial age we had 270 ppm. Now we’re at 400, heading to
600 or more by 2060, unless we take some very drastic measure, and it won’t be pretty. So the equation is simple. We should reduce
the stuff that put into the atmosphere, and we could use this amazing 370 million year
old technology specifically engineered to capture CO2 called trees. The question is, can we plant enough trees
to offset 36 gigatons of CO2? One tree can suck 20 kg of carbon from the
air every year, which is about what your average airport luggage should weigh. So 50 trees can suck a whole ton every year.
Our goal is to offset 36 billion tons every year, so that’s 1800 billion trees, which
is 1.8 trillion trees. Let me repeat that, it’s 1.8 TRILLION trees,
with the t. OK, so how much is that? If we assume the optimal space between trees
of about 10 meters, 1.8 trillion trees require 180 million km2 of land. OK, that doesn’t help, what the heck does
that mean? If we look at planet earth, the total amount
of land area is only 149 million km2, which makes tree takeover plan physically impossible. See the problem there? The said reality is that trees alone cannot
offset our yearly CO2 emissions. But what if we stopped emitting all this CO2?
What if we moved to a new way of living, so that by 2060 we have 100% clean energy and
sustainable practices, and perhaps this december the COP21 could be the turning point for this
transition? That would be great, but we still have a problem.
Even in the most optimistic scenario, it’s almost impossible to stabilize at less than
450 ppm, which would be far better than 600, but it’s still pretty bad. There’s still 180 parts too much. Can trees
help there? As we saw, one tree can offset 20kg of CO2
per year. But that also means that it can suck 1 ton in 50 years. 1 ppm in the atmosphere is equivalent to 7.8
gigatons of carbon. Which is a LOT! Since we need to offset 180, we need to suck 1.4
trillion tons of carbon dioxide. But we’ve seen this numbers before, that’s
1.4 trillion trees! And they require 140 million km2 of land,
which is less than what’s available on planet earth, so we’re good! Or… not really. By looking at a picture of our planet you
probably noticed these things called deserts and other stuff where trees can’t grow…
so we could use at best 50% of the land area. Unless we turn the deserts into forests, which
is probably more difficult than fixing the climate in the first place. But even then, we’d have no space left for
anything else. No cities to live in, no farms to grow food, no cinemas to enjoy movies,
no houses to record educational YouTube videos, just… a lot of trees. In short, we’d need two planets just to offset
past emissions of one planet. So that’s impossible, but just because we
want to do it in 50 years, our puny little human timescales. If you’re the planet, you don’t care. You
can wait a 1,000 years, it’s all divided by 20, and then it’s easy! Trees alone aren’t enough to fix our climate
problem, but we should still plant them! To really fix the climate for humans, we need
something more audacious, and that’s what we’re going to look at on the next video. If you want to know about it, you should subscribe
to this channel. LIke, right now. I’ll just wait for you to subscribe, so it’s fine. Oh,
you’re done? Great! You should also follow me on konoz, where I’m exploring the subject
of Climate Change, how to fix it and a lot more cool stuff. If you donate any amount you’ll get exclusive
private updates with access to my videos before they go live, and you can choose from
many more cool rewards, including digital downloads to all my stuff, or even seeing
your name on screen as a producer to my next video. Thank you being curious.

Reader Comments

  1. You need to build houses/homes that you can grow as trees this can be done by genetic engineering. If i told you that i know a people in another solar system that does this, you wont believe me, but it sure is the solution in keeping the atmospheric contents balanced.

  2. CO2 is just one out of 8 major oxides produced in internal combustion engines (ICE's), and, if you begin your calculations with erroneous and misleading data you will not form a rational conclusion.


    There are 8 major oxides made in exhaust fumes, and this disinformation that there is only the one, CO2, has been provided to the world via fossil industry think tanks everywhere.

    The reality today is that like Albert Einstein, the grandfather of environmentalism or the battle between people and nature versus careless corporations, said that it is a mistake for us to share our world with devices that, like me, consume oxygen. He was absolutely correct and he advocated for the complete dis-use of fossil fuels because of the measured fact that they were lowering the O2 level of our atmosphere.

    The fossil industry, founded like everything else that "we" do, by the bankster's money, didn't want to hear this, and they swept all of Einstein's words about the fossil industry under the carpet. Remember, Einstein died in 1955, so, we have had many and accelerating decades of oxide production that is greater than 7 times the volume of the CO2 representation you used in your graphic in this video. These oxides all have O in them, every single one of them, and no fossil fuels have O's in them, so all of the O's and O2's in these produced oxides come from our atmosphere and the O2 level is declining and insects, birds and fish populations the globe over have been dying of hypoxia beginning in higher elevation locations world wide in the year 2000, the year the term "Dead Zones" (aptly named) came into existence.

    Dead Zones are areas of both water or air that do not contain enough O2 for the species in question, and so they all die rather quickly. They have been increasing in both frequency and severity since first being named.

    Go outside anywhere on Earth today and you will notice it is or has become like a ghost town, compared to the insect and bird populations that were there 10 years ago. People in cities are noticing the pigeon populations seems strangely absent, for example, and the moth and butterfly populations, grasshoppers, etc. and bird types, have all been decimated, right in front of our eyes.

    We are in a race against time that no amount of trees will be able to compensate for. We need to do electrolysis on an epic scale and change our atmosphere back to one with a 25% O2 content and we need to do this quickly now. We also need to engage massive air compressors and begin the process of taking all of these oxides out of the sky and returning them to raw elements and free O2.

    People, too many people, accept anything and everything from mainscream media sources. and every single thing offered by the mainscream media in all of it's plenty of forms, is 100% lies, or very close to it, in every case.

    Our O2 level has gone from roughly right on a quarter the first time we measured it to under 20% and falling today. Things are already dying everywhere. The canary is not in a coal mine, the canary is on the surface, and the canary has fallen.

    Therefore, tree's will not be able to, at this late date, grow and displace enough CO2 to help, and also, tree's do not deal with the other oxides, the much more plentiful supply of CO, NO, NO2, SO, SO2, HO and H2O2 and then more trace gasses of other sorts are also present in smaller amounts, but these 7 gasses here are all rich in Oxygen and are not even a part of the tree cycle.

    Again, listening to anything the mainscream media says will help none.

  3. Here in California, we have been told to kill all of our landscaping, in effect, destroying all the carbon sequestration in urban settings. I estimate if the Governor gets his way for all major state cities to kill their landscaping, 20% of the CO2 reduction goal of the state in law, will be destroyed. This is how a we deal with climate in a Democratic state. Lip service out of one corner of their mouth, and something totally opposite out of the other corner. The left corner is run by one part of the brain, the right corner another part of the brain, and both parts don't talk to each other.

  4. When doing pre-commercial thinning of a woodlot, it is suggested that spacing be about 1.2 meters between trees.

    Therefore, this guy's 10 meter spacing is off by quite a bit. 10 meter spacing in 1 hectare is only about 100 trees.

    1.2 meter spacing translates to nearly 7,000 trees.

    Since this is the case, I'm guessing, Yes…trees can substantially fix the climate.

    Mix in some biochar soil enhancement for the forest waste and trees and the woodlots they live in can do a whole lot more.

  5. As soon as the trees die, all the carbon they captured goes back into the atmosphere. We'd need to cut them down and bury them somewhere.

  6. Or you know, we could spend more time and resources into developing artificial trees! I don't know how much money is put into this kind of research as of now, but it would fix the whole "too much CO2 in atmosphere" issue.

    And people, don't come here and say "we can't possibly create artificial trees that are better at sucking up CO2 than the natural trees that have had millions of years of mastering this", please. Of course we can.


  7. I disagree with his assessment of 10 meter space between trees. We are planting 668 trees per acre and each tree sequestering 1 tonne of CO2, which can be done in fraction of the land mass he is suggesting. Please don't make statements without doing your research, as you are misleading people.

  8. I suspect a bio feedback where more CO2 would encourage more plant bulk. A good percentage of this increase might be in plankton and sea weeds. Over a certain level of CO2, Stomata on leaves might lessen to a degree which allows more plant life in deserts (they release less water vapor).

  9. Earth has 3 trillion trees and used to have 6 trillion, just growing naturally so your math is off by quite a bit if you're saying adding 1.8 trillion is impossible..

  10. We CANT have 100% clean energy in 2060, because we will still be driving cars, trucks, airplanes etc. (unless we make them all fully sustainable, which we can not succeed in in such a short time span), there would still be animal agriculture, many of us would still be cutting down trees for warmth (in colder areas) and many people will still be denying climate change anyway.

    You also totally forgot methane, nitrous oxide and other human-made GHG

    You did forgot jungles though. Jungles are WAY more dense in trees and plants, so the 10m distance between trees is just way too dramatically measured.


  12. David Belliveau is right on spacing – It will take 300 Mil acres of forest to sequester the annual amount of CO2 released in the U.S, – 29 people in Texas planted 139,000 acres in 2016- it is most definitely doable.

  13. In this estimation you´re taking in mind just the CO2 factor isolated from the rest of the whole complex system. It´s not just the CO2 absorbed by trees what they will be helping us. On greenhouse you have to take in mind the energy input, output, etc. so, it´s not the same having a naked soil than having a forest which will reflect much less IR energy than a desert-like soil. They generate shade too, and vegetation keeps humidity and sustains soil life as well. So they not only catch and fix CO2 but compensate the global warming problem on many other ways we need. I´m taking too serious planting trees since two years ago. Now I have some hundreds of small autochtonous trees growing up. 🙂

  14. Your math is way off. At the beginning of agriculture there were 6 trillion trees on Earth. Take a walk in the woods to learn how close trees can grow together.

    "A remarkable study has calculated that there are about 3 trillion trees on the planet today but this represents just 45 per cent of the total number of trees that had existed before the rise of humans".

  15. No amount of trees will help because humanity grows with 100 million people per year, strict birth control is the only option for the future.

  16. Assume the optimal tree spacing is 1m instead of 10m. Now your can have 100 times as many trees per area. Problem solved!
    Or assume that algea exists instead of things only growing on some parts of land. Problem solved!
    Grow plants on the roof and you can have as much space for buildings as you want without sacrificing any space for plants. Problem solved!

  17. <Facepalm> C02 is NOT an effective greenhouse gas nor does it accumulate in vast amounts in the atmosphere. Mankind contributes about 10% to the C02 amount every year by our activities. the other 90% comes from decaying plant matter. EVERY rise in C02 is met with a rise in O2 because of plant respiration. Climate change is driven by Solar activity, Orbit of Earth and the moon and the Axial tilt of the Earth and their effects on the ocean. WATER Vapor is the primary greenhouse gas. No That the basics are out of the way….. Planting trees is always good because they are pretty and planting fruit trees is always a good idea. Burning Fossile fuels in our cars is dumb but that will go away as soon as a profitable means of building an electric car happens. this will probable happen long before 2060 which is a stupid doomsday date….. Lastly Petrochemicals are an extremely valuable resource. We make approximately 1.5 million compounds from petrochemical, you cant have hospitals, medicines, roads, schools and feed millions of people without them…….. Federico Pistona, doesn't appear to know a thing about science, climate or otherwise, chemistry or anything other than high school level journalism.

  18. Your assessment on 10 meter gap between each tree is deeply misleading. Shrinking that gap in half gets you 4× the land area. On top of that you forgot to mention ocean plants that suck in more CO2 than land plants and even greenhouse buildings that can host plants in multiple floors.

  19. You should watch 're-greening the desert.' Some deserts probably can't be greened because of stuff like the Himalayas, but yeah it can be done and re-planting trees does make a difference and it is something everyone can do. Stopping or reversing this is going to take a massive human effort with a lot of people and if everyone on earth planted one tree, that is a load of trees.

  20. Control population. Less people will use cars, and the demands of manufacturing lots of cars and canned goods. People is business, thats how they see it. If environment is less important than economy, try holding ur breath while u count ur money….

  21. one tree gives 20 kg is wrong and does not take into account ground cover and reflective radiation and many other positive things not used in the calculation. so this whole video is seriously wrong. This video dude needs to go visit several major reforesting projects and well give him a do over. Until then skip all his works, seriously dude, this video stinks with bad data.

  22. I dont think you took into account that after about 8 years a lot of the trees could be cut down and turned into furniture, they wouldnt release the carbon back and those spaces could be re planted…. also when they talk about trees they dont take into account the root system… but anyway if you do it my way you could would need less space.

  23. Plant more trees and plants do save earth and our own life check out small message video from my side

  24. here's idea : how buildings with many floors are built for people, there could be similiar solution for trees. maybe it's problem with providing day light.

  25. Hey we do not have to reduce all that carbon, just moving back to 1780 level is only 400–270= 130 ppm…with trees and reductions we have a chance.

  26. Like when you see, so more people see this!
    Hey so for everyone who wants to do there part for the world with out actually doing any more then you are now. Or if you just want to do your part, then there is a browser called Ecosia, that does the same as google but for every 45 serches they plant a tree in a place that really needs it. I've planted 12 trees and I've only been there for a week. They have an amazing history of helping people and they already planted 50 mil trees as of this week. So please switch from your web browser to Ecosia so we can all help the environment!

    Or you know, just recycle. That too.

  27. y not.. afforestation in deserts can fill this gap
    already china did it in its 3 desert areas..youyu, shaibanda ,gobi

  28. Butt… when you plant trees, animals bacteria and fungai will inhabit it, creating the co2 the trees breath in and make o2. So what i like to say, trees, forrests can not absorb more co2 then it produces itself. The historical variations of co2 are a result of change in sunlight hitting the earth. The milanchovich cycles, offset earth orbit and axes slowly, and like in winter, less sunlight hit earth, changeing the environment and life has to adept, hence a variation of co2 and temperature. I would like to know, how much co2 does a forrest produce, and how much co2 it transforms into o2 for the lifeforms to transform back into co2…. i think planting trees is not helping all that much

  29. You don't know that all plants use C02 and give off oxygen and the deserts occupy 1/3 of the world. Check out the people who are growing trees in the desert now, you are not very educated on the millions of trees being planted and when planted in the desert they take only 4 yrs to reach 20' tall. Being done in so many deserts like china as well as Ethopia have totally regreened 2 desert already. Please go to reforestation world for a small sample of what is being done now. This is being done with water, knowledge and basic sweat by hundreds of community around the world and is usinfg organic fertilizer. NO2 is much more dangerous than CO2 but the corporation want to blame us, so the big corporation who are telling us without man made fertilizer and pesticide, we will all starve to death. The corporation having been fear mongering, as a basic plan to get us to do what they want, It takes 110 yrs to die and is the direct result of man made fertilier. NO2 is also responsible for the damage to the ozone layer. Check out the article on Australian agriculture using manmade fertilizers! Air pollution and land destruction from these products is partly to blame for mono farming practices. People are being taught about the need for trees and are being mobilized around the world. The poorest of the poor are turning around their environment by planting native trees, scrubs and grasses (biodiversity), making all kinds of water trention sytems to hold large amount of water. They are using agroforestry to create sustainable living environment and working together for a better future! Within 1 year of the monsoon, water tables are stable and last through the dry season in Africa, India and China just to name a few continents. You have the web at your desposal and you seem to be very misinformed. NO2 is much more dangerous than CO2 but the corporation want to blame us, so the big corporation who are telling us without man made fertilizer and pesticide, we will all starve to death. The corporation having been fear mongering, as a basic plan to get us to do what they want, It takes 110 yrs to die and is the direct result of man made fertilier. NO2 is also responsible for the damage to the ozone layer. Check out the article on Australian agriculture using manmade fertilizers! Air pollution and land destruction from these products is partly to blame for mono farming practices. Please check out what I have said and use your platform to tell the present day story. Visit the places and find out first hand!

  30. Highly Probably because oxygen can make earth cooler.though trees can clean pollution air. there's many benefit planting trees.

  31. Adopt a tree near your home, water it at least monthly (through tube in the ground near the trunk), mulch it (four inches deep at least) with wood chips twice a year, and throw some organic fertiliser on it twice a year – early spring and mid summer.

  32. CO2 levels at 180ppm will kill life on the planet. At 800ppm plants thrive. Plants begin to suffer at 500ppm levels. Scientific fact. To be safe we need 1000ppm CO2 urgently. We are at 400ppm and that is dangerously low. Do your science. Stop with the hysteria.

  33. In other words stick to your own business cause the world is coming to an end anyway, you won't stop it, none of us will, so just embrace the fact that is not going to happen for now.

  34. but plants do cellular respiration at night so we are basically going to die anyways but also because apparently factories and businesses are more important than saving the world we are not far from death.

  35. Just so you know we already have over 3 trillion trees which means someone has their math off a little bit. Haha. Climate change is not true in the sense you are saying. But it does change daily yearly its weather it’s never the same.

  36. Your wrong, you plant trees then other plants, shrubs and grasses thrive under the trees which dramatically helps..Bamboos and the grasses are excellent as well…10 metres apart is stupid, 5m would be a forest not to mention all the other plants so your math and theory are way off..Also they are cutting down plantation trees in Scotland as peatland absorbs more carbon, so you really need to do your homework instead of silly hypothetical videos…

  37. your video is assuming you need to remove all of the co2 in a fixed time. That is not necessary, only important bit is to avoid increasing the co2. which does not need that many trees. the planted trees then can suck the co2 out over a period of time in 100-200 years.

  38. I read that trees can sequester as much as 1 ton of CO2 in 40 years on average, that means you would need 375-440 billion trees to remove the 375-440 billion tons of CO2 added by humans. Also, out forest currently have over 3 trillion trees, and so far, we've cut down 3 trillion trees worth of forest, and you would only need to replant as little as 10-15% of the trees we've cut down to bring CO2 levels back down to 280 ppm in 40 years.

    edit: also, our atmosphere weighs ‭5,750,000,000,000,000, and CO2 makes up 0.041% of our atmosphere's weight as of right now, or roughly 2,357 billion tons of CO2. This means the 130 ppm increase since 1750 is equal to roughly 748 billion tons of CO2, of which humans are responsible for 375 to 440 billion tons of that, or roughly 50-58% of that rise.

  39. Switch your browser to ecosia they are a non profit organization that uses the ad revenue from their browser to plant trees

  40. Ya but it's not just much does other plants like all vegetation in a 1km square… Like the grass weeds, flowers ect.? There are so many more plants than just trees.

  41. Hemp is ideal for converting carbon to oxygen. It grows fast and it's a weed so it grows practically anywhere.
    the planet can be saved, but it'll take swift action to plant about 1 trillion trees. This would need to be a massive global effort purely dedicated to planting trees. No hidden or attached agendas that could risk collapsing the efforts. Just pure tree planting efforts.
    A big reason why global warming efforts are hindered today is due to sociopolitical and economical agendas trying to be pushed with it. Such as pushing solar power, electric cars while ignoring planting trees. That's an agenda a tree planting campaign must be totally free of.

  42. 400 parts per million is not that much historically theres always been more, and thats a pretty small number, you know a million is a lot. The 'drastic measures' they mention mean higher taxes and enslaving the lower class people to serve the higher class people, actually rich people with no class but I digress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *