George Monbiot tells us two things. Well, OK, George is known to tell us more than just two things but we’ll stick with this pair for the moment.
Firstly, climate change is such a thing, a terror we know not what, that anything and everything must be done to contain it. Well, OK, I don’t agree – it’s a chronic problem no more – but this is Monbiot’s position.
Secondly, we need to stop planting vast forests of invasive species and instead allow the regrowth of Britain’s ancestral forests. I rather agree with this one. Sure, the Lake District is nice looking but it’s an entirely man made environment. Returning it to the broadleaf forests of 3,000 to 5,000 years ago seems fine to me.
Now a leading expert is calling for similar action again, arguing that if the UK is serious about offsetting its carbon dioxide emissions it must plant tens of millions of trees from imported species on open land.
John Healey, professor of forest sciences at Bangor University, says that relying on indigenous species such as oak and beech will make it impossible for the government to hit its climate goals. Britain will have no choice, he says, but to engage with the commercial sector in large-scale planting of imported conifers, despite fears of the impact on habitats and wildlife.
But of a bugger, that conflict there, isn’t it?
And the thing is, perhaps, if we would have to spruce up Britain to avoid it, a little bit of climate change is to be prefirred?