Last week we reported here on new research that suggests planting trees may not always have the climate-cooling effects that many would expect. The authors of this study have since expressed concern that they may be being misreported in some sections of the media, and insist that they have not been denigrating tree planting overall.
In a letter to the Guardian, which we unfortunately cannot find on their website, Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institute put forward the following clarification:
"I was aghast to see our study reported under the headline "Planting Trees to Save the Planet is Pointless, Say Ecologists" (December 15). Indeed, our study found that preserving and restoring tropical forests is doubly important, as they cool the earth by removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and by helping produce cooling clouds. We did find that preserving and restoring forests outside the tropics does little or nothing to help slow climate change, but nevertheless these forests are a critical component of the earth's biosphere and great urgency should be placed on restoring them."
He goes on to argue that stopping climate change will require great steps in developing renewable sources of power and, possibly, nuclear energy, but he also insists that "we must concurrently take action to preserve our forests so that we have an environment worth preserving." We certainly won't argue with that! [Written by: Sami Grover]