Spain plants trees to offset its greenhouse gases
El Nogal (The Walnut tree)
Originally uploaded by Protopito
Two of Spain‘s regional governments and its capital city plan to plant millions of trees to help offset the impact of the country’s spiralling greenhouse gas emissions, environment officials said on Thursday.
Spain is allowed an increase of 15 percent in its carbon dioxide emissions but the government estimates that it will be facing one of 37 percent in the 2008-12 period. It aims to offset 20 percentage points of that via United Nations-approved clean energy projects in developing countries, and a further 2 points by planting trees.
Some of the country’s regional and local governments are leading the way.
Castilla-La Mancha, an extensive, rural region on Spain‘s central plain, has already increased its forested area by 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) to 5 million hectares, its Environment Councillor told in a conference.
It now plans to plant 20 million trees in the next four years, he said.
Madrid, despite its traffic, already is one of the cities with most parks and gardens in the world. It promises more green spaces and plans to create hanging, vertical gardens to cover buildings. “We will also plant 1.5 million trees, which will absorb 9,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year,” the head of the city hall’s environmental department, said. Officials said this project would be accomplished within the term of the four-year legislature just starting.
The Basque Country is funding the planting of 250,000 trees in Kenya between 2006 and 2009, the regional government’s environment councillor Esther Larrañaga said. It will also plant 10,000 new trees in the Basque Country itself, a mountainous region on the north coast of Spain, she told the conference on climate change, hosted by the New Economy Forum.
These are good news for the people behind the “1st International Meeting for Friends of Trees” recently held in Spain (June 23rd). Their objective: To plant 100 million trees in 4 years. Some of the participants were Vandana Shiva, WWF, Greenpeace and Al Gore.
The vice president had a busy agenda in Spain: besides being a speaker at this meeting, he received the Principe de Asturias award for International Cooperation and was also a guest of honor at the II International Conference on Climate Change & Wine.