The government of New Zealand has announced a new goal of planting one billion trees in the next ten years, double the number it has been planting to date. The initiative promises to diversify the country’s income, create new jobs, improve water quality and reduce the country’s carbon footprint. Recently, Pakistan made a similar commitment although signifigantly grander in scale, to plant ten billion trees.
New Zealand has the third highest share of renewables in its energy mix out of countries worldwide. However, its economy relies heavily on high-carbon meat and dairy exports, especially to the US and China. The country’s move to increase its levels of afforestation will help to diversify its portfolio of exports, reduce its carbon footprint and improve the state of the country’s environment through better water quality and decreased land erosion. Is this a signal of the country’s commitment to a greener economy? Or should a greater emphasis be placed on reducing the impact of its agriculture on the environment and the country’s emissions?