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Can cloning redwoods help fight climate change?
One group hopes that a proliferation of the massive trees will contain rising carbon emissions
 
Redwoods can digest copious amounts of carbon dioxide.
Redwoods can digest copious amounts of carbon dioxide. DLILLC/Corbis

A recent study from Oregon State and Harvard University revealed that Earth is currently warmer than any given point in the past 11,300 years. Indeed, with 98 percent of climate scientists with degrees and facts and stuff now saying that human activity is contributing directly to rising temperatures, the question naturally becomes: What should we do?

One idea: Plant a lot of gigantic trees with a glutton's appetite for carbon dioxide. According to the Associated Press, an organization called the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is spearheading a movement to plant California's towering redwood trees in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Germany, and other parts of the United States. The ancient trees are capable of growing to heights nearing 400 feet, or about the length of a skyscraper.

"We need to reforest the planet; it's imperative," says David Milarch, one of the organization's co-founders. "To do that, it just makes sense to use the largest, oldest, most iconic trees that ever lived."

In order to mass-produce the trees, the group is cloning redwoods that have lived for thousands of years. The AP explains:

[The group has] developed several methods of producing genetic copies from cuttings, including placing branch tips less than an inch long in baby food jars containing nutrients and hormones. The specimens are cultivated in labs until large enough to be planted. [AP]

The initial inventory of several thousand saplings was taken from a group of 70 redwoods and giant sequoias. According to NASA engineer Steve Craft, previous research has demonstrated that these monstrous organisms are capable of digesting much more carbon than any other tree on the planet.

Cloning and nurturing new redwoods is hardly the only creative idea put out there to fight manmade emissions. According to the Mother Nature Network, other proposals include artificial trees that suck carbon dioxide out of the air, and great ships that spew enviromentally friendly cloud formations. 

Obviously, no single plan is a cure-all, but, as proponents suggest, it sure beats doing nothing. "If we get enough of these trees out there," says Milarch, "we'll make a difference." (Via the AP)

 
Chris Gayomali is the science and technology editor for TheWeek.com. Sometimes he writes about other stuff. His work has also appeared in TIME, Men's JournalEsquire, and The Atlantic.

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