On January 21, 2020, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, President Trump announced that the United States would be joining the One Trillion Trees Initiative, an ambitious global effort to conserve, restore, and grow one trillion trees worldwide by 2030.
Since that time the Trump administration and the United States has been leading the way.
Recently, we reached a milestone when 1t.org – the global trillion-tree platform – launched the U.S. Chapter, the first national chapter of the global initiative.
The U.S. Chapter allows American entities that would like to participate in the initiative to make pledges and contribute toward the trillion trees goal.
Currently, there are 30 U.S.-based companies, non-profit organizations and cities have pledged to conserve or grow more than 855 million trees by 2030.
Forests provide substantial environmental benefits. Trees are a natural and cost-effective way to sequester carbon. Our nation’s forests remove over 14% of the United States’ carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually. Moreover, some 180 million people in over 68,000 communities rely on these forested lands to capture and filter their drinking water.
They also provide numerous recreational and job opportunities for Americans. There are approximately 150 million visits to our national forests every year. Those visitors contribute more than $10 billion to the United States’ gross domestic product and support more than 140,000 full and part-time jobs, the vast majority of which are in rural communities.
There are 30 U.S.-based companies, non-profit organizations and cities have pledged to conserve or grow more than 855 million trees by 2030.
In addition, our nation’s private working forests and woodlands support approximately 2.5 million American jobs and generate approximately $200 billion in goods each year.
Tuesday, President Trump took another major step when he signed an executive order establishing the United States One Trillion Trees Interagency Council.
This action solidifies the commitment to the trillion trees initiative and aims to ensure a strong contribution from the United States government.
The Council will serve as the primary entity coordinating the Federal Government’s efforts in support of the global initiative. Specifically, the Council will coordinate the government’s work, develop policies to increase federal planting and conservation activities, and seek to remove barriers that limit the ability of the administration and other U.S. entities to conserve, restore, and grow trees.
Additionally, the Council will recommend legislative actions that will assist the country in achieving its goals.
The president has already identified one such action when he called on Congress to pass the bipartisan REPLANT Act. This bill would remove the outdated $30 million annual funding cap on the Reforestation Trust Fund. Doing so would nearly quadruple the amount of money available to the U.S. Forest Service for the restoration of our national forests.
It would create thousands of American jobs and help plant more than one billion trees in America and on American soil over the next 10 years.
Through the United States One Trillion Trees Interagency Council, we will not only expand on the recreational and economic benefits that forests provide our nation’s citizens but also work to improve the global environment for future generations.
Chris Liddell is Assistant to President Trump and Deputy Chief of Staff.