A few weeks ago, the News Tribune reported that Rep. Pete Stauber is one of 10 Republican sponsors of the Trillion Trees Act. This massive planting of trees is intended to help combat climate change since trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

But David Archer, geophysical sciences professor at the University of Chicago, told The Hill, “You can’t do carbon neutral by planting trees. … It’s sort of a Band-Aid.”

Paul Falkowski of Rutgers University’s Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology Laboratory said that trees could potentially reduce excess carbon dioxide by 20%, but he also said, “It’ll take a pretty long time for that to occur.”

We don’t have a long time. In an op-ed in the New York Times, three climate scientists said, “(The) only thing that will save us and future generations from paying a huge price in dollars, lives, and damage to nature is rapid and substantial reductions in carbon emissions from fossil fuels to net zero by 2050.”

If planting trees won’t get us to “net zero,” what will? Peter de Menocal of Columbia University’s Center for Climate and Life spoke for many climate experts when he told The Hill, “The most important thing we can do is put a price on carbon.” There is a bill in the House of Representatives with 80 sponsors from both parties that would do just that: HR763, or the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Studies cited in support of the legislation show that if it was enacted today carbon emissions would decrease 40% by 2030, 75% by 2040, and by more than 90% by 2050.

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If you favor a serious solution to a serious — that is to say, “existential” — problem, call Rep. Stauber’s office and urge him to support HR 763.

Roger B. Day