Video: Let’s talk about a trillion trees and the GOP

“That’s nice, but it’s nowhere near enough” is something of a mantra around here. We are still far, far behind where we need to be if we want global warming to be anything other than totally catastrophic, and I find it infuriating to see politicians who’ve been avoiding or opposing action longer than I’ve been alive, patting themselves on the back for ill-conceived quarter-measures. That’s why this message from Beau of the Fifth Column is not one I’m especially excited to hear. That said, I think he has a point.

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was asked for the GOP solution to global warming, and he responded that they’d plant a trillion trees. Whether or not you think that’s an adequate plan, Beau makes the case that those who want climate action should vocally celebrate this, and avoid criticism. If they get positive feedback for this idea, and it catches on, then the conversation shifts from whether we should do anything at all, to which approach is best, with the need to act now being taken as a given.

That’s progress worth making. It should have been made decades ago, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is progress worth making.

I think it’s also worth noting that while the Democrats have started doing things about climate change, those things are still a kind of low-urgency economic “nudging” that might have been enough if it had started in the 90s. Nobody in the US government is taking the problem seriously, but if the GOP does start spending money on planting trees, the Dems will lose their coveted status of being not quite as bad as the Republicans, and that would increase pressure on them to do more.

And more than that, the GOP adopting their trillion tree plan would normalize the need for climate action in their base. McCarthy and his ilk have earned our scorn a hundred times over on this subject, but their power is real, and their obstruction is damaging. I think Beau makes a good tactical case for celebrating this.



  1. says

    I have been thinking about this, and have been slowly coming to the realization of what they mean when they say that the changes to the environment will last thousands of years, potentially hundreds of thousands. It means that we completely do not give a shit about all of those as-yet unborn generations of people. Basically, they can just fucking deal with it, if any of them survive. That is the only way I think we can interpret humanity’s attitude, and it aligns squarely with the 20th century generations who also handed their proximal descendants a gigantic ecological disaster. Humanity is too stupid and mean to survive.

  2. says

    I feel your frustration, but I think it’s worth mentioning, again, that what’s happening now isn’t exactly the willing choice of “humanity”. That distinction may not save us, in the end, but if that’s the case, then I think it’s especially important to be clear about why this is happening.

  3. StevoR says

    However many trees you plat, questions for me are will they survive and will they be the best species choice for the area where they are planted?

  4. says

    With the temperature rising, I think it’s foolish to assume that carbon stored in trees won’t be re-released in short order.

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