The need for action

Why doubling tree cover is critical.

05 Sep 2019

The problem

Anyone can tell that the weather is getting wilder and affecting us all. From floods in the UK to droughts, storms and sea-level rise displacing millions of the world's poorest people, climate change is happening now.

Nature is in crisis. It’s estimated that humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since the 1970s. A major cause of this is habitat destruction.

The solution

We have no hope of stopping climate change unless we can restore the abundance of nature. And we have no hope of stopping the crisis in biodiversity unless we tackle climate change and – more to the point – the root causes of both.

Nature is the ultimate carbon capture and storage machine. Trees play an incredible role in combating climate chaos by removing planet-wrecking emissions from the air around us.

What we're calling for

Despite their importance, just 13% of the UK’s total land area has tree cover (compared to an EU average of 35%).

We believe one of the best solutions to protect our environment and achieve net zero emissions (removing as many emissions as we produce) is to double UK forest by 2045, but government targets currently fall well short.

That's why we're calling on the UK government to commit to doubling the UK's tree cover by 2045 to tackle the climate emergency. 

The strategy

In a nutshell, our strategy seeks to catalyse change. Planting and protecting trees is not a new idea, but the scale and ambition required to stop runaway climate change and reverse nature decline is.  

The first phase of this campaign (June 2019-June 2020) will focus on achieving UK-wide public support for Friends of the Earth’s call to double tree cover by 2045.

We need to build strong, diverse coalitions calling for a doubling of UK tree cover. Crucially, we need to make the case for tree-friendly farming by building support from a range of farmers as 70% of the UK is farmland. And we're keen to work with you to identify and influence leading local authorities to pledge to double tree cover.

Getting commitments to double tree cover is part of our Climate Action Plan for local authorities, so groups working on the Climate Action campaign might also be working on this aim.

The second phase (June 2020 – December 2020) will channel public pressure to secure a UK Government to commit to double tree cover.