Global warming, or “climate change” is a manmade catastrophe for our planet. It is mainly caused by our emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide) which is created when we burn fuel in cars and power plants that generate electricity. In short, we pull substances rich with CO2 from deep inside the earth (i.e. oil) and when burned, release CO2 and other gases into the air. The gases act like an insulating blanket around the planet which keeps heat from the Sun inside our atmosphere and thus warming the planet.
The production of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” is further worsened by our purposeful destruction of trees. It is common for entire forests to be cleared for development of housing, shopping centers, and roads and highways. This is bad because trees absorb carbon dioxide and store it. The very thing that sucks carbon dioxide out of the air and helps reduce global warming causes is being destroyed at an alarming rate.
As part of photosynthesis, all plants absorb CO2 (in a process known as “carbon sequestration”) – but nothing absorbs more CO2 than trees. They absorb more CO2 because of their size and massive root systems. But, when trees die, the carbon dioxide they store is slowly released as the tree decays. The trees that best absorb carbon dioxide are trees that grow fast and large and live a long time, so they can store the carbon dioxide longer. Typically however, trees that grow fast die quickly, which means they don’t store the CO2 for very long.
Scientist have been looking for the trees that best store CO2. If you want to help fight global warming, plant a tree that grows well in your area and be sure to plant a tree that grows fast but lives a long time. Also try to plant a tree that requires the least amount of maintenance. Trees that need lots of maintenance require the use of trucks to haul them away when they die, chainsaws to trim limbs, and so on. These sorts of activities produce more CO2 which negate the benefit we get from the tree itself.
Scientists say the best trees for fighting climate change are the following:
- Black Walnut
- American Sweetgum
- Ponderosa Pine
- Red Pine
- White Pine
- London Plane
- Hispaniolan Pine
- Douglas Fir
- Scarlet Oak
- Red Oak
- Virginia Live Oak
- Bald Cypress
Planting trees to battle climate changes is not the only solution to the global warming problem. In fact, too many trees could make the situation worse because they take up space and use lots of water. To truly beat global warming, people on earth must change the way they live. They need to drive less by living closer to their jobs or schools or take advantage of the Internet by working or going to school from home. They need to shift to alternative methods of generating electricity such as wind farms and solar power. And we need to stop focusing on owning more “stuff”, things we don’t really need to live and enjoy life but require massive amounts of energy to produce. Still, a good-sized dent could be put in the global warming problem if everyone planted the right trees in unused space in their yards.