February 18, 2019
Australia Fights Climate Change With Pledge Of Planting One Billion Trees

With the president of the United States, Donald Trump, deeming climate change a "hoax," it becomes imperative that the other nations of the world not shy away from their commitments in battling climate change. Australia, a country which has seen the worst effects of climate change with the current summer recording mind-boggling temperatures, has vowed to fight global climate change by pledging to plant a billion trees by 2050, according to the Strait Times.

Australia currently produces 500 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent per year, with recent reports suggesting that some of the country's biggest companies are ignoring the calls from regulators and investors to do more to mitigate the risks of climate change, according to ABC Australia. Although the top 100 companies in Australia are failing to acknowledge climate change as a veritable business risk, the Australian leadership is taking steps to cut the emission of greenhouse gases significantly.

A new forestry plan by the Regional Forestry Hubs (RFH) -- keeping up with the targets envisioned in the Paris Climate Agreement -- seeks to plant a billion trees in the next three decades, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying that the RFH would also support jobs in a sector that contributes more than $23 billion to the national economy.

According to the Australian government's 2018 State of the Forests report, the country currently has the seventh largest forest cover by area in the world, with 17 percent of its land area covered by trees. But Scott Morrison has reiterated his commitment to increasing Australia's forest cover, which would be essential if the country has to meet the demands set in Paris. Australia has pledged to cut its emissions by 26 to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2030 -- an ambitious target -- but Morrison has expressed confidence in meeting it.

Even so, as reports suggest, reaching that target would be much tougher than the current leadership anticipates. Despite the good news, the fact remains that Australia faces losing a lot if companies continue to act in an unregulated manner. But recent developments, including an Australian court blocking a coal project on grounds of climate change, has given hope that the country is serious about battling climate change, according to the Financial Times.

But cutting down on coal would also be one of Australia's biggest problems as it currently boasts a $67 billion per year coal export industry. It remains to be seen if Scott Morrison's pledge is executed ably, but the scorching temperatures in Australia sure suggest that something needs to change if it has to meet global emission demands.