25 October 2019

UN climate scientists believe a concerted effort to revegetate land and improve soil quality could “convert enough carbon into biomass to stabilize emissions of CO₂, the biggest greenhouse gas, for 15-20 years, giving the world time to adopt carbon-neutral technologies.” Rene Castro Salazar, assistant director general at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, said, “With political will and investment of about $300 billion, it is doable.” This sounds like an incredibly large number, but when put in perspective it is a pittance. Bloomberg notes it is equivalent to “the world’s military spending every 60 days” — two months of peace would pay for 20 years of climate action! Even if we insist only the wealthiest countries cover this cost, the combined GDP of the G8 nations is about $40 trillion per year, so the whole of the $300 billion amounts to just 0.75%. That could be covered by one year of slightly lower economic growth in those countries. If non-G8 wealthy countries pitched in, the impact would barely be felt. And this is a 20 year project — on that time frame, the cost approaches zero.