Justin Trudeau promised Greta Thunberg 2 billion trees. None have been planted

Achieving the goal by 2030 would mean planting 547,945 trees each day

Louise Boyle
New York
Friday 18 September 2020 21:15 BST
Trudeau, Macron and Johnson caught on camera making fun of Trump

Justin Trudeau made a promise that Canada would plant two billion trees to fight climate change following a meeting with activist Greta Thunberg last year.

None so far have been planted, according to Montreal newspaper La Presse.

The Canadian prime minister met with the teenage environmentalist on 27 September, 2019, in the midst of his re-election campaign, and as thousands gathered for climate strikes in the country, and around the world. 

On the same day, he tweeted: “We’ll plant 2 billion trees over the next ten years. That’s it. That’s the tweet.”

However, according to La Presse, Mr Trudeau’s Liberal government has not planted a single one for the initiative. 

To have 2 billion trees in the ground by 2030, would mean planting 547,945 trees each day or 200 million a year.

The Independent sought comment from Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan’s office. 

In a statement, press secretary Ian B. Cameron said that during the pandemic the Canadian government provided $30 million to the forest sector to safely continue operations. 

He added: “This funding helped ensure this year's season – with its scheduled planting of 600 million trees – could move forward. Additionally, we continue to support the Highway of Heroes tree campaign, which has planted more than 750,000 of a planned 2 million trees between Trenton and Toronto. We are also planting hundreds of thousands of trees through the Disaster Mitigation Adaptation Fund.

"Supporting these existing tree planting activities during COVID-19 has been our priority over the last several months, and we have been successful in those efforts. We continue to support tree planting efforts, we remain fully committed to planting two billion additional trees, and we look forward to sharing more details on that soon.”

Mr Trudeau met with the Ms Thunberg on the sidelines of the climate strike demonstration in Montreal last year which was attended by an estimated half a million people.

Following their meeting, she said: “He is of course obviously not doing enough but... this is such a huge problem.

 “My message to all the politicians is the same, to just listen to the science, act on the science.”

Mr Trudeau took office in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019, with a minority government. 

The son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Trudeau has focused on boosting social programs, raising taxes on the highest earners and stressing the need to fight climate change.

A recent surge in Covid-19 cases has forced the leader to scale back his plan to outline an ambitious green economic recovery package next week, Reuters reported on Friday.

This story has been updated to reflect the government response

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