Palo Alto Urban Forest

Urban Trees Play a Key Role in Climate Change Mitigation

With the 2015 Climate Change Conference wrapped up in Paris and the adoption of the Paris Agreement, one question remains – what action can we take here in the San Francisco Bay Area?

We all know that we are experiencing a period of warming due to the greenhouse gases building up in the atmosphere, trapping in more energy than is radiating back out to space. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) research shows that carbon dioxide (CO2) makes up 74% of those greenhouse gas emissions, with 57% just from fossil fuel use. That trapped energy contributes to a warmer atmosphere, impacting ocean temperatures, sea-ice pack, sea levels, and vegetation and animal habitats.

As the conservation nonprofit American Forests reminds us, “healthy forests are our most efficient, inexpensive, and natural systems to combat climate change.”

Both natural and urban forests play an essential role in reducing the main contributor to climate change – CO2.

There are two direct ways that trees help:

Trees act as a CO2 sink:

Trees reduce energy use:

Here is what you can do to help:

 

Further Reading:

American Forests – Forests & Climate Change

Arbor Day Foundation – How Trees Fight Climate Change at Home

Arbor Day Foundation – How Trees Fight Climate Change in Your Community

BBC – Climate Change Deal: In Summary

BBC – Six Graphics That Explain Climate Change

BBC – What is Climate Change?

EPA – Carbon Footprint Calculator

Forestry Commission – How Trees Can Help Reduce Climate Change

U.S. Forest Service – How Trees Help Fight Climate Change – All Over the World

U.S. Forest Service – Urban Forests and Climate Change Resources