This Arbor Day, let us take a moment to remember that trees -- the very ones we see all around us -- are the greatest natural air filter we have on earth. In fact, Teddy Roosevelt referred to them as the "lungs of the earth." Each individual cell in a leaf takes in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, uses sunlight to convert it into energy and the oxygen that we breathe, and stores the carbon in wood.
There were once six trillion trees on the planet, but now there are only three trillion. Plus, we're losing an additional ten billion trees per year. We can't afford to take our strongest emissions reduction tool off the playing field.
We can, and must, reverse course. One trillion new trees could potentially eliminate two-thirds of all man made carbon since the Industrial Revolution. Something as simple as planting and cultivating our trees will create healthier forests that will remove more carbon out of the atmosphere. The best part is that we can start making this progress today.
Republicans have a long history of championing effective government policies on the environment and conservation. And in 2020, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act, which harnessed the revenue from our energy resources to fund our national parks. Now, with the Trillion Trees Act, we will be continuing this legacy.
Leader McCarthy in 2020 with President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Second Lady Karen Pence at the White House for a tree planting ceremony.
In addition to planting trees, we need to protect, restore, and better manage the forests we already have. That is why Leader McCarthy, along with House Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman, are leading a dedicated group of House Members to the Sequoia National Forest on May 5th to witness firsthand the difference between treated and untreated forest areas and what that means for protecting these resources, as well as the devastation that wildfires have on our forests. Our goal is to educate our Members of Congress so they can be better informed as they continue to develop and refine legislation on giant sequoias. We need healthy forests to reduce global emissions -- we can't afford to let this resource go to waste because of mismanagement and neglect.