The cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s climate policy was the Clean Power Plan. It required US states to slash carbon emissions from power plants and was designed to remove approximately 870 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Along with other policy initiatives, Obama’s Clean Power Plan meant the United States was steering towards meeting its target for the 2015 Paris Agreement.
A fortnight ago, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order seeking to roll back much of the Obama administration’s climate change regulations. Vowing to put an “end to the war on coal”, the executive order crippled Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Trump’s executive order was the subject of much international outcry, as the US may now fall short of its emissions-reduction commitments by more than 1 billion metric tonnes. This is already undermining the success of the 2015 Paris Agreement, with Trump’s climate policy being blamed for the ‘Group of Seven’s’ recent failure to affirm their commitment to the Paris Agreement.
“The world’s most powerful man doesn’t believe in science, and that should be concerning to everyone around the globe,”
Trees for Trump
Last month, a project was launched in the hopes of turning this around. Created by climate scientist Daniel Price and sustainable cap company founder Adrien Taylor, the Trump Forest project aims to encourage individuals and businesses to plant a ‘global forest’ in Trump’s name. By enabling anyone to take part, the founders hope this global forest will gain enough momentum to offset the damage caused by the crippling of Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
“The world’s most powerful man doesn’t believe in science, and that should be concerning to everyone around the globe,” said founder Adrien Taylor in a press release. “We…felt like we had to do something about it; at least so we can one day look our grandchildren in the eyes and tell them we tried to do something about Don’s extremely dangerous incompetence.”
How does it work?
Individuals or businesses can donate money to a reputable tree planting organisation under the name of ‘Trump Forest’. After the Trump Forest team receives confirmation of the donation, they will add it to the Trump Forest ‘tree count’, as well as to a global map, which will track the growth of the ‘Trump Forest’ around the world.
According to the Trump Forest team, 100,000 square kilometres of forest (approximately the size of Iceland) would be required to offset the additional carbon emissions that would be generated if the Clean Power Plan is removed. Though this target would be difficult to reach, an attempt to realise this ambitious target is still well worth the effort, as planting trees will not only sequester carbon dioxide, but will also improve biodiversity outcomes, limit soil erosion and improve water quality.
Founder Adrian Taylor recently paid ‘Trees for Canterbury’, a non-profit organisation, to plant 1000 trees in New Zealand’s Port Hills Mountain range. This mountain range was recently subject to two out of control fires, which destroyed approximately 600ha of habitat for small birds and reptiles. Consequently, Taylor hopes his tree planting efforts will help to quicken the recovery of the area, and ‘regenerate the wildlife that has been lost’.
The Trump forest team hopes to continue their work until “a sane, logical government that bases its decisions on scientific advice wins the next election”. The group also claims that the movement is ‘only the beginning’, and have other tree-related plans to ‘combat Trump’s ignorance’.
Those interested in joining the pledge to fund tree plantings, or who want to find out more, should go to TrumpForest.com