Ireland aims to plant 440 million trees against the climate crisis

22 million trees and 50,000 more energy efficient homes a year, as well as one million electric cars by 2030. This is Ireland’s Climate Action Plan, which institutes bold targets for the next two decades.

Ireland will plant 22 million trees a year until 2040, for a total of 440 million new plants. Through this action the government aims to gradually reduce CO2 to reach its zero emissions goal by 2050. Furthermore, stricter Carbon Taxes, more investment in renewables and better agricultural management will be adopted to mitigate climate change. These provisions are all included in the Irish Climate Action Plan.

Ireland’s ambitious goals

According to Ireland’s plan, the target for reforestation and afforestation activities is to plant 70 per cent conifers and 30 per cent broadleaf plants, amounting to around 2,500 conifers or 3,300 broadleaf trees per hectare. In addition to the reforestation project, the Irish Climate Action Plan aims to make 50,000 homes more energy efficient every year, while its transportation goal is to increase the number of electric and zero-emission vehicles by 100,000 in the same timespan, so as to reach one million by 2030.

“Taking decisive action to confront climate disruption will be a major challenge to every dimension of our society,” an introduction to the plan on the website of Ireland’s Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment reads, “but the benefits are huge – warmer homes, cleaner air, a sustainable use of the world’s scarce resources, more connected communities, authentic values, and quality jobs in enterprises which can compete in a decarbonised world”.

Ireland countryside
Parts of the Irish countryside will be transformed into forests of conifers or broadleaf trees © John Finn/Unsplash

Farmers criticise the Irish plan

Not everyone supports Ireland’s grand reforestation project, and farmers in particular have been upset by the revelation that they may have to give up part of their land for the 440-million-tree objective to be reached in the next 20 years. But the government is pushing forward, further boosted by the publication of the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), according to which agriculture and land management will play a crucial role in the fight against the climate crisis.

Reforestation projects
Other countries are also launching reforestation and afforestation projects © Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

Not just Ireland, fortunately

Many other countries have launched reforestation projects: in Ethiopia, a nationwide effort led to 350 million trees being planted in a single day, an amazing achievement in combating deforestation and global warming. India did something similar in 2016, when 66 million trees were planted in just twelve hours. Thanks to the Trillion Tree Campaign, China has planted 13.62 billion trees, even deploying 60,000 soldiers to help achieve this goal. Australia has financed a project that will see an extra one billion trees by 2050, with the objective of absorbing 18 million tonnes of CO2 per year. And the city of Milan, thanks to the ForestaMi project, will create an urban forest with 3 million trees by 2030.

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