The Trudeau government’s mission to plant two billion trees over a decade is headed for failure, a new audit by Canada’s Environment Commissioner Jerry DeMarco found.
On Thursday, DeMarco published a total of five reports, including one audit of the program first announced in 2019.
“There is no solution to climate change and terrestrial biodiversity loss that does not include forests,” said DeMarco.
“It is unlikely that the two billion trees program will meet its objectives unless significant changes are made.”
His office delved into the program’s performance during the initial two years, and the verdict was that the government is falling well behind its goals and not even four percent of the promised trees will be in the soil by 2030.
“It is unlikely that the two billion trees program will meet its objectives unless significant changes are made,” he explained.
The original goal was to plant a whopping 30 million trees in 2021, followed by another 60 million in 2022. The government has already missed the mark by at least 45 million trees to date.
Canadians are still awaiting the final numbers for the 2022 planting season but based on how many tree-planting agreements the federal government reported this year, DeMarco estimates that approximately 16.5 million trees would have made it into the soil.
DeMarco’s long-term projections show that only 76.2 million trees – or 3.8% of the two billion target – will be planted by the end of the decade.
By 2027, the audit stated that Canada will require 350 million seedlings to be planted a year.
As of 2022, there were 94 deals being struck out with private and public partners to initiate planting but only 23 have reached completion as of October.