Science

Carbon footprint and co2 emissions

First, one needs to understand how serious the problem of CO2 emissions is.

Few people know how much CO2 is released during the combustion of one liter of gas or petrol.

The answer is 2.3kg! Think about it for a minute, this is an astounding number.

A car that consumes 8l/100km will release 18,4 kilograms of CO2 per 100km. The average European drives a distance of 20,000km, that is about 3,7 tons of CO2 each year per car.

For plane travel, the problem is worse. One hour of flying per passenger is about 250kg of CO2 per hour.

A round trip New York – Paris (14h) represents 3,5 tons of CO2 per person in economy class. Business class passengers count double as they take proportionately more space in the plane.

For persons who fly, even a couple of times per year, their carbon footprint coming from plane travel will represent quickly more than half of their total carbon footprint.

Carbon sequestration

There are solutions. First of course, one should try to limit one’s consumption. For ex., one should reduce airplane travel. Any trip less than 1000 miles long should be done by train or car. Less flying doesn’t necessarily mean less vacation; one should travel less often but stay longer.

Compensation should be seen as a helping factor not a justification for more emissions. Having limited one’s emission, the other solution is thus to reduce carbon in the air by planting trees. They absorb CO2 and produce oxygen.

One tree absorbs on average 200/250kg of CO2 over eight years when it is mature. For ex. if the CO2 footprint of a person in a given year is 20 tons, by planting 100 trees that person’s carbon footprint will be offset in 8 years once the tree has grown which will take 10 to 20 years.

Forest coverage in armenia and potential for increase

Armenia has a surface of 30,000 km2. The forest coverage is estimated at 11,2%, it is very low compared to other countries in the region. Forest coverage should increase by 5% at least. 1% of the country is 300 km2 or 30.000 hectares. To create new forests, experts recommend planting around 2.500 trees per hectares. The long-term goal of My Forest is to plant 400.000 trees annually, or about 160 hectares of new forest every year. Hopefully, with time, that number could grow. At 160 hectares per year, it would still take 187 years before Armenia’s forest coverage would grow by… 1%

Cost of planting

The cost of planting is composed of three parts.

The first part concerns preparation of the seedlings in a nursery or greenhouse: collecting the seeds, filling each container with seed and high quality earth, watering, etc.
The second part concerns planting itself. Suitable areas need to be carefully selected and special planting procedures need to be designed according to the geographical areas.
The third and most important part concerns caring for the young plants during at least the first six years. The young seedlings have to be protected by fencing. Next, grass and other weeds that grow quickly must be removed regularly as they absorb moisture and nutrients that is used by the young seedlings. This needs to be done at least five times the first year and up to 15 times in the course of the first six years. This maintenance work is the major part of the cost.
The total cost of all three operations (incl. administration costs) is $5 per tree.