When it comes to climate change research, most studies bear bad news regarding the looming, very real threat of a warming planet and the resulting devastation that it will bring upon the Earth. But a new study , out Thursday in the journal Science , offers a sliver of hope for the world: A group of researchers based in Switzerland, Italy, and France found that expanding forests, which sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, could seriously make up for humans’ toxic carbon emissions. In 2018, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s foremost authority on climate, estimated that we’d need to plant 1 billion hectares of forest by 2050 to keep the globe from warming a full 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. (One hectare is about twice the size of a football field.) Not only is that “undoubtedly achievable,” according to the study’s authors, but global tree restoration is “our most effective climate change solution to date.” In fact, there’s space on the planet for an extra 900 million hectares of canopy cover, the researchers found, which translates to storage for a whopping 205 gigatonnes of carbon. To put that in perspective, humans emit about […]

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