Planting trees is a good start

I read this week House Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy is pushing for a bill to require the planting of a million trees. Some members of the Republican party are now openly admitting climate change is a problem after over twenty years of varying degrees of denial.

The rationale is to two-fold. These members realize younger voters know climate change is a problem to deal with. These members also are pushing a carbon capture narrative to permit the unabated use of fossil fuel energy.

This is a good start for the Republican party, but a necessary strategy has two vital components:

1) take more carbon out of the atmosphere

2) put less carbon into the air

Focusing only on one or the other is half the battle. Fortunately, coal is on the demise in most places around the world. In the US, more coal-fired plants have been retired under Trump’s tenure than under the last three years of Obama’s. With all his bluster, Trump cannot stop the demise.

The key is to diminish natural gas, which has less carbon impact than coal, but creates a larger methane and water problem. While methane has a shorter life than carbon, it is more potent a problem.

We should embrace planting more trees. We should also increase mangrove areas near seashores which absorb a lot of carbon and protect against rising tides. And, as noted in the documentary “Ice on Fire,” there are a number of other carbon eating measures.

These with increasing solar, wind, and tidal energy sources and continued urban and agricultural climate efforts will help put less carbon in the air. The answer is all of the above and more.


17 thoughts on “Planting trees is a good start

  1. Tree planting is a great idea and has worked in many countries. Arbor day is a holiday in many countries and used to be a holiday here, too. Also, the reality is simple: EVEN if we wanted coal-fired generators — and nobody actually wants them anywhere near where they live — there isn’t much coal remaining. Coal is a dying industry. Whatever we are going to use for energy, coal is unhealthy, inefficient, and becoming rare. And you know that the Republican party isn’t going to champion something that isn’t going to make much of a profit!

    • Marilyn, I agree the number on coal have diminished. Right now, there are 4 to 5 times the number of workers in solar energy vs coal in the US. The cost of production of solar and wind is now on par or better than coal. And, when all costs – acquisition, transportation, production, storage, litigation, health, water – coal is much more expensive than solar and wind. Right now, Texas gets as much electricity from wind than from coal. Next year, coal will fall to third place behind natural gas and wind energy. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: If you have a minute, click on the recommended post at the bottom of this one called “Ice on Fire.” It summarizes the things that are being done, which need to be expanded to address climate change as noted in the documentary of the same name.

  3. Let’s hope this becomes a groundswell Keith. The influence of the fossil fuel companies is still a big problem. I’m not so sure the rest of his caucus is with him on this. Let’s hope they get there!

    • Jeff, let’s hope. You are right about the caucus not being fully there. If something can get passed, Trump said he would support it.

      I was watching “60 Minutes” tonight where they focused on the Australian fires. Former PM Malcolm Turnbull criticized the extremists in his own party who deny climate change science. He called them idiotic.

      Scott Morrison, the current PM who thinks climate change is overstated, got backlash for going to Hawaii during the fires. One impacted by the fire joined others in refusing to shake Morrison’s hands saying to his face “you’re an idiot, mate.” Keith

      • I saw that 60 Minutes episode Keith. I too, was heartened to hear the conservative Turnbull state his opinions on climate change. Morrison is much like Trump. These guys just don’t get it. They only think in terms of days…not months or years. It’s always about the dollars. It’s the only thing that drives these guys. The more conservatives that do speak out, the better off we’ll all be. I hope the tide is slowly turning.

      • Jeff, true. The dollars of paying later dwarf the dollars of acting now. Assuming some things can be fixed. The fix may be moving people inland. Trump’s Mara-lago may be underwater in thirty years. Keith

  4. How much better for the world, if all the members of Congress, as well as the person in the Oval Office, would get on board, but sadly there are too many who will continue to claim denial because they are in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry. Still, this is a start. Baby steps, I suppose.

      • No, Keith, I put exactly zero credence in anything Trump says. He is as reliable as a 30-day weather forecast. As reliable as the one-armed bandit in Las Vegas. Sigh. Wouldn’t it be lovely to trust our elected officials again?

      • Jill, it would be nice to take the president at his word. Last night on “60 Minutes,” one of his lies about Ukraine was so obvious, even Fox and Friends hosts asked are you sure? Rather than give facts, he said “you know, people are talking.” Trump is a dream come true to Putin. Keith

      • Note to Readers: I am going to repeat a comment to Jill on a related post. The reference to the Irish sea wall is the climate naysaying US president formally asked the Irish government (in writing) to get permission to build a sea wall on his coastal golf course to protect against rising sea levels due to…climate change.

        “Jill, I think the Irish sea wall request would be a good pushback on some naysayers who follow the president. Help me understand why Mr. Trump….
        Here is what I am puzzled by. If these naysayers believe they are right, what is the downside of moving toward more renewable energy that uses less water and does not pollute the environment? What is the downside of planting more trees and protecting mangroves in marshes?
        If they are wrong and we don’t do enough, we cannot reset the clock. From a risk management standpoint, it is beyond foolish. Keith”

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