South Florida Plans To Cast Aside Palm Trees To Fight Climate Change

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached a record high at 419 parts per million, reports NOAA. Scientists warn that we must act now to avoid “catastrophic climate change”.

The Sunshine State is taking a stand by planting trees that absorb large amounts of CO2.

The iconic palm trees in South Florida are beautiful to look at but absorb only 5 pounds of CO2 per year. For this reason, Miami and West Palm Beach have decided to stop planting them.

Photo: Pixabay/ASSY

“Palm trees do not sequester carbon at the same rate as our native canopy trees and do not provide shade, cool down streets and sidewalks to help counter the urban heat island effect that canopy trees do,” Penni Redford, the Resilience and Climate Change Manager for West Palm Beach, told CNN.

Instead, they plan on planting more hardwood trees, which can absorb up to 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, to help clean up the air.

Photo: Pixabay/ Andreas Nusko

Miami is already witnessing the effects of climate change and has set a goal of achieving 22% tree canopy cover city-wide by 2040.

The existing palm trees will not be torn down, as deforestation only contributes to CO2 pollution, but as Mother Nature takes her toll on them they will be replaced with native canopy trees.

“Southern Live oak, Quercus Virginiana — large canopy trees, can withstand occasional floods and hurricanes and are resistant to salt spray, provide habitat for birds and a variety of moss and bromeliads in south Florida,” states Redford.

Photo: Pixabay/nextvoyage

Miami Beach Urban Forestry Master Plan states by 2050, palm trees will make up “no more than 25% of the public tree population”.

Trees are one of the most efficient tools in reducing CO2 pollution, but they alone cannot stop global warming.

Human activities, like burning fossil fuels & deforestation, are the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Scientist Pieter Tans states, “The highest priority must be to reduce CO2 pollution to zero at the earliest possible date.”

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