Photo via CITIC International
In an unusual plan to combat climate change, the Brazilian government will require coal and oil companies to plant thousands of trees in order to offset their carbon emissions. If the companies don't comply? They lose their operating licenses. According to the Environmental News Service, Brazil's power plants are responsible for emitting around 14 million tons of CO2 a year. So in an attempt to mitigate those beastly emissions, the Brazilian Environmental Service has come up with a plan that would require fossil fuel burning companies to plant a specific amount of trees a year. If companies don't plant the required number of trees, they'll be unable to legally renew their licenses or apply for new ones.
The plan would both help capture carbon and aid in Brazil's reforestation efforts, the government says.
So how will the nuts and bolts of the measure, which is part of Brazil's National Climate Change Plan, actually work?
The ministry's preliminary estimates show that a power plant with capacity to generate 100 MW/h, that operates during 25 percent of the year, will have to plant up to 600 trees.
And at that rate, the Brazilian government has predicted that by 2017 the country's power sector will have planted some 3 million trees.
While it's an interesting plan, and more tress planted is always good news, such carbon offset schemes are in no way an ideal long term solution--and combined with the fact that Brazil is planning on opening 82 new coal burning plants over the next 8 years, the initiative seems more like a gesture than a solid way to curb emissions.