WASHINGTON (Press Release) – Today, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced the Trillion Trees Act, legislation that would plant 1 trillion trees globally by 2050 and incentivize the use of wood products as carbon sequestration devices. U.S. Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and David Joyce (R-Ohio) all joined the bill as original cosponsors.
“Trees are the ultimate carbon sequestration device,” Westerman said. “Every day, countless billions of plant cells are pulling carbon from the atmosphere and permanently storing it in wood. That’s why this legislation is so important. We’re taking proven science and turning it into practical solutions. Not only are we setting an ambitious goal of planting 1 trillion new trees by 2050, but we’re also reinvesting resources into managing forests and using wood products. Since wood continues storing carbon long after the tree is cut down and turned into furniture or building materials, there is no limit to how much carbon we can sequester. We have an obligation to conserve our resources and make them available to future generations, and I challenge anyone to find a better climate solution than taking care of our forests. I’m pleased to have so many of my colleagues joining me in this effort, and I look forward to moving this bill through the legislative process.”
“Congress has the chance to work in a bipartisan manner to consider legislation that would reduce emissions, promote clean energy, and conserve our natural resources,” Wittman said. “This Trillion Trees Initiative is a forward thinking approach that works with the private sector to reduce carbon across the planet to protect our environment. These are the types of solutions that deliver real results for the American people.”
“I am proud to stand with our loggers in introducing this legislation, as the forest and paper industry is a cornerstone of northern Minnesota’s economy,” Stauber said. “The legislation will increase our logging output, rightfully recognize the carbon neutrality of biomass, and provide a commonsense solution to carbon in the atmosphere without needlessly driving up the cost of energy. Trees are nature’s solution to cleaning excess carbon from the atmosphere, so I am proud to help encourage communities across our nation plant to trees and properly manage forests.”
“No question we can do a better job taking care of the environment, but big government, one-size-fits-all proposals that threaten our economy are not the answer,” Burchett said. “The Trillion Trees Act is sensible legislation that not only lowers atmospheric carbon by planting and conserving forests, but adds quality jobs while preserving the American economy. This is an achievable, reasonable first step toward doing our part in lowering carbon in the atmosphere.”
“As a Boy Scout, I took an oath to be conservation minded,” Stivers said. “The One Trillion Trees Act puts the powerful resources of our national forest system to work and actually helps our natural resources such as national, state, and local forests to capture carbon and contribute a powerful solution to combat our changing climate. This bill and initiative encourages Americans of all ages to do their part engage in conservation. I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation and am glad to see the bipartisan support.”
“An estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska on April 10, 1872, and nearly 100 years later Arbor Day was officially recognized as a national day of tree-planting,” Bacon said. “Our early pioneers understood the value of trees to our environment because they help with water conservation, reverse the impacts of land degradation, and provide energy. Now studies are showing how trees can help reduce excess carbon by storing it. In fact, it is estimated that planting half a trillion trees could reduce atmospheric carbon by approximately 25 percent. This bill is common-sense legislation that grows, utilizes, and preserves our natural resources.”
“I am proud to join my friend and colleague Rep. Bruce Westerman in introducing the Trillion Trees Act, which will help our nation reverse the catastrophic effects of deforestation, prevent horrific wildfires, sustain critical resources and ecosystems, and reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere,” Joyce said. “This bill will help ensure we remain good stewards of the environment and will benefit our economy, and I urge the House to act quickly on it.”
The Trillion Trees Act is based on a July 2019 Swiss report featured by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science that concluded planting 1 trillion trees across the world could sequester 205 gigatonnes of carbon. That’s roughly the equivalent of two-thirds of all manmade carbon since the Industrial Revolution.
The bill has three parts:
- Plant more trees in urban areas and on marginal agriculture land domestically while offering technical support and assistance for other countries to maximize forest growth internationally and reverse deforestation.
- Grow more wood in existing forests and make them more resilient to insects, diseases and catastrophic wildfires.
- Store more carbon by incentivizing innovative building practices with a sustainable building tax credit.
President Donald Trump first announced that the U.S. would be joining the Trillion Trees Initiative in Davos, and reiterated this pledge during the 2020 State of the Union address.
Click here to read the full bill text.
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