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Celebs planting trees to offset the impact of their jet-setter lifestyles might not be helping as much as they think, researchers warn


  •  New research suggests trees could also be contributing to global warming

Celebrities have, for some time now, taken comfort in the fact that planting scores of trees might offset the impact of their jetset lifestyles.

Big companies too have used the same method to show that they’re countering the effects of their carbon footprint.

However, it now appears that trees aren’t as good at fighting global warming as was thought.

While it has long been known that they absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, research shows they also soak up heat because they are dark – which ultimately contributes to warming up the planet. Researchers from the universities of Sheffield, Leeds and Cambridge believe this can reduce their effectiveness at preventing global warming by around a third. 

Celebrities and big companies have for some time been planting trees to offset their carbon footprint. However, new research suggests they might not be helping as much as they think (Stock Image)

Celebrities and big companies have for some time been planting trees to offset their carbon footprint. However, new research suggests they might not be helping as much as they think (Stock Image)

Celebs have long taken comfort in planting trees to offset their jet-setting lifestyle. New research has found trees soak up heat because they are dark – which ultimately contributes to warming up the planet (Stock Image)

Celebs have long taken comfort in planting trees to offset their jet-setting lifestyle. New research has found trees soak up heat because they are dark – which ultimately contributes to warming up the planet (Stock Image)

Dr James Weber, from the University of Sheffield and lead author of the study, said: ‘The suggestion that you can plant trees to offset your carbon emissions is widespread. Trees can help tackle climate change, but we need to be careful about relying on them.’ The research, published in the journal Science, found that trees reflect less light than other land cover – they are darker than grassland – and produce tiny particles called aerosols which can act as greenhouse gases.

The study said ‘these indirect effects partially offset the CO2 reduction benefits by up to 30 per cent.’

It found that trees planted in tropical areas were most effective at reducing climate change. The researchers said humanity must stop producing so many greenhouse gases directly rather than relying on trees to fight climate change.

Dr Stephanie Roe, of WWF, said reforestation had to be ‘paired with deep emission reductions’. Jetsetters who say they have used offsetting to cut their carbon footprint include Prince Harry and Meghan, actress Emma Watson, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.





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