Tree planting is a ‘feel good’ gesture only says reader

To the Editor:

The article posted September 30th regarding the Liberal Party plan for tree planting as a significant solution to CO2 reduction has prompted me to respond and give credit to Mr. Trudeau & Mr. Thompson for their “feel good” idea.

However, I think it fair to comment on some facts about trees.  My facts are taken from a recent article published in the Summer Issue of The Taxpayer , a publication of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. They are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to lower taxes, less waste and accountable government.

Canada has currently 347 million (347,000,000) hectares of forest. The number of trees in Canada is estimated at 318 billion (318,000,000,000), taken from a Washington Post article in 2015 citing a researcher from Yale.

We all learn in school that trees remove carbon dioxide from the air (photosynthesis) and emit oxygen. It also produces carbohydrates (a source of energy for the tree and what it is made of). The tree mostly consists of carbon.

At the point of a tree growing and living, it can be considered as good for us and offsetting other emissions while it is healthy. When a tree dies and decomposes, it’s carbon is released as carbon dioxide.

Many forests in Canada are very old. They grow less quickly and decompose at higher rates. According to the National Forest Inventory, 71% of Canadian forests are more than 60 years old and 30% are over 100 years old.

Natural Resources Canada information from 2002 showed that our forests removed 69 million (69,000,000) tonnes more carbon than Canada emitted in 2001.

Canadian total carbon emissions were 610 million (610,000,000) tonnes or 9 times greater than what our forests removed.

Now to the Liberal promise to grow 2 billion (2,000,000,000) trees. When completed, our number of trees in Canada will have swollen to 320 billion (320,000,000) from 318 billion (318,000,000), an increase of .00625%

Canada is responsible for 1.6% of global emissions of carbon. Adding 2 billion trees will have absolutely no meaningful impact on emissions and is only a “feel good” gesture.

 Jim Reid , Southampton