Home / Science / Yorkshire's forest size must be planted for Britain to meet its climate targets, warns scientists

Yorkshire's forest size must be planted for Britain to meet its climate targets, warns scientists



Large fields of crops and woodland should be planted across the British countryside to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to a new report.

As the nation strives to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution by releasing fossil fuels, experts have warned that this will not suffice to meet Britain's strict climate targets.

To avoid the worst effects of climate change, countries must actively remove greenhouse gases that have already entered the atmosphere.

Now, in the first plan of its kind for Britain, researchers have presented an ambitious strategy to do just that involving massive biomass burners and coal stored deep underground.

This strategy has been commissioned by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, but is independently produced by the Royal Institute of Technology and the Royal Society.

Together, the approach has the capacity to make the country carbon dioxide neutral in the middle of the century, but scientists warn there is no time to lose.

"A clear result of the report is that we must act quickly," said Professor Gideon Henderson at Oxford University, who led the team.

"There is no silver bullet, but there is a wide range of technologies and methods proposed for greenhouse gas removal."

The government has proposed it to strive for zero emissions by 2050 , at what time, UK greenhouse gases will be discontinued with the amount removed.

But with sectors such as aviation and agriculture that prove difficult to clean up, the transition to renewable energy will still leave a large amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

"If we go down on a transformation road our energy system, our transportation system, industry base, how buildings work … We could reach about 130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents by 2050," said Professor Nilay Shah of Imperial College London. [19659072] Campaign grows trees every time Trump tweets about climate change


"To reach zero, we need to find ways to take 130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere every year."

They estimate using methods already available to plant trees and restore natural habitats. It should be possible to remove 35 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050. This includes expanding the UK's existing forest area by 1.2 million hectares, around Yorkshire.

In addition, Britain needs to invest in non-widely used technologies – the boss is, among other things, carbon capture technology.

The most direct way to do this is to remove CO2 from the air and store it somewhere, it can not do any damage, as underground in geological formations.


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A rounder method involves growing bioenergy crops that can then be burned to produce energy, with carbon dioxide released when burned as captured and stored. In order to apply this technique to a significant extent, large areas of land would need to be transformed to grow appropriate bioenergy plants.

Such significant changes in the British landscape can be a source of controversy, according to Rapporteur Professor Corinne Corinne Le Quere at the University of East Anglia.

"People will respond to these techniques in different ways and resistances can limit deployment," she said, adding that it would be important to engage local communities and communicate costs and benefits efficiently. While Britain has a £ 9m research program that examines some Of these techniques, Professor Henderson said that this was "insufficient" about the kind of revolution described in their report to be conducted.

Law also noted "early signs of activity" including tree planting targets and coal plants converted to biomass plants, but said there is a need for more governments int

Such actions may include an after-Brexit subsidy system to encourage farmers to use their land for storing coal.

These suggestions were broadly welcomed by other researchers as the praised plan's ambition

The report is bold in requiring field trials of untested technologies and deployment of others. However, it must be bold, says Dr. Phil Renforth of Cardiff University, who was not involved in the work.

"We desperately need the research described in the report to develop these different technologies into useful solutions." [19659090]
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