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Climate Crisis: Ethiopia Starts Ambitious Campaign to Plant 200 Million Trees a Day

The government hopes to plant four billion trees by the end of the year

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The Ethiopian tree-planting campaign is part of an initiative dubbed Green Legacy that was launched on May 26. VOA

Ethiopia has started an ambitious campaign to plant 200 million trees a day, a record that the African country aims to reach in the wake of deforestation caused by the climate crisis.

Six hours after the beginning of the initiative on Monday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who participated in the plantation drive in the south of the country, announced on his official Twitter account that they had achieved more than half of the goal by planting around 100.5 million trees. “The six hour result shows we are halfway to our goal. Congratulations for this milestone as we all #PlantOurPrint for a #GreenLegacy,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a post.

“Let us build on the momentum in the remaining hours.” The Ethiopian tree-planting campaign is part of an initiative dubbed Green Legacy that was launched on May 26. To achieve the Ethiopian goal and create a world record, each citizen has to plant at least two trees.

climate crisis, plant trees
The government hopes to plant four billion trees by the end of the year. VOA

The highest number of trees planted in one day by one person is 15,170 by Canadian Ken Chaplin in 2001, according to Guinness World Records. The government hopes to plant four billion trees by the end of the year. For this to happen, it is estimated that the 100 million Ethiopian population would have to plant at least 40 trees each.

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The objective of Green Legacy is to raise awareness and to make people take responsibility and reverse environmental degradation. Everyone is expected to take part, with the capital’s public offices closed so that workers can participate in the campaign. Staff at Ethiopian Airlines also joined the initiative.

Social networks were flooded with photographs of dozens of Ethiopians planting trees with the hashtag #GreenLegacy. Abiy’s initiative has received support from several international organizations, including UN agencies and international embassies. (IANS)

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Bangladesh on The Verge of a Carbon Catastrophe

Environmentalists warn Bangladesh of Carbon catastrophe

Bangladesh is on the verge of a carbon catastrophe with a large number of coal-based power plants. Pixabay

When the rest of the world is switching to renewable energy, Bangladesh is on the verge of a carbon catastrophe with a large number of coal-based power plants, environmentalists warned on Wednesday.

“Power is essential for Bangladesh…but it should not come through any suicidal project. No project is acceptable at the expense of people’s lives, livelihood, and environment,” said Iftekharuzzaman, the Executive Director of anti-graft watchdog Transparency International Bangladesh.

Iftekharuzzaman made the observation in Dhaka at the launch of a report titled ‘Choked by Coal: The Carbon Catastrophe in Bangladesh’, which highlighted the risk of coal-fired power stations, Efe news reported.

Australia-based campaign group Market Forces, California-based non-profit 350, Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA), Transparency International Bangladesh and Waterkeepers Bangladesh jointly released the report.

It’s high time for Bangladesh to switch to renewable resources. Pixabay

According to the report, at least 29 coal-fired power projects with a total capacity of 33,200 MW are being set up in Bangladesh. If all the projects are built, the country’s coal power capacity would increase by 63 times from the current 525 MW.

Annual emissions from the proposed coal plants would be 115 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2031, higher than the upper emissions estimate for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline between the United States and Canada, said the report.

The report added that 4,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide would be emitted through the operating lifetime of Bangladesh’s proposed coal plants, which is 20 percent greater than the lifetime emissions from all of the currently operating coal plants in Japan.

Chinese banks and companies are leading the dirty energy drive, funding over half of the projects, said the report, adding that UK and Japan-based companies are involved in three proposed coal projects each, despite transitioning to cleaner energy within their own borders.

“What is happening in the rest of the world over coal, Bangladesh is doing the opposite, though it is not necessary…the situation is turning like that we would be suppressed under coal,” said Abdul Matin, general secretary of BAPA.

The report also warned Bangladesh of the huge trade deficit as the pipeline plants would lock the country into a huge volume of coal import for decades.

Annual emissions from the proposed coal plants in Bangladesh would be 115 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2031. Pixabay

“It would cost Bangladesh an estimated $2 billion annually to import large volumes of coal to power the proposed plants. Unless export increases significantly, this would add billions to the negative trade balance,” said the report.

During the fiscal years of 2018 and 2019, the country experienced the largest trade deficit in its history – $18 billion and $16 billion respectively, according to the report.

Iftekharuzzaman said after implementing the projects Bangladesh will also have to share the blame for climate change when the country itself is vulnerable to its catastrophic effects.

“We are taking these projects under pressure from foreign countries. We must back away from it… when we are one of the vulnerable countries to climate change, these will make us one of the worst polluters,” he said.

Also Read-More than 11,000 Scientists Declare Climate Emergency

The Asian Development Bank ranks Bangladesh seventh in the world of countries most affected by climate change. By 2050, with a projected half-meter rise in sea level, 11 percent of Bangladesh’s landmass may be lost, affecting about 15 million people in its coastal areas. (IANS)