£1.3million project to create a new woodland by planting 100,000 trees will help to cut the borough’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2040, claims Enfield Council.The Enfield Chase woodland creation project forms part of the council’s Enfield Climate Action Plan.
Planting trees is good in itself and should be supported but what its impact is on climate change is something that needs much more explanation and evidence than that supplied in the Council’s Climate Change Plan.
Tress are carbon sinks that soak up some of the carbon in the atmosphere but they do not stop emissions itself. They are all about offsetting and are therefor a palliative rather than a solution. Yes they are important and necessary but they are not a solution. The major solution to climate change mitigation is reducing carbon emissions. Enfield Councils Plan admits it largely rests on offsetting - thus is palliative rather than cure.
Also there are some serious questions about where the tress will be planted especially in the Enfield Chase area. It seems that some are to be planted on active farmland and the details of this need to be made clear.
Preserving and expanding active farmland is an essential part of climate change adaption as in future years when food scarcity world wide maybe be prevalent because of global drought and water shortage then food security in the UK will mean maximising our farmland and developing a smart farm approach.
If trees are to be planted on farmland it may thus marginally help mitigation but at the expense of adaption. If this is what the Council Plan is suggesting then it is clearly a contradiction in terms - give on one hand and take on the other.