An analysis conducted in 180 countries found that wood products (all paper, wood, furniture and more) globally produced 335 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2015, of which 71 million tons were not accounted for according to current norms of the United Nations. The carbon sequestration of wood products could increase more than 100 million tons by 2030, depending on the level of global economic growth.
The results provide countries with the first coherent vision of how their timber industries could offset their carbon emissions as nations seek ways to keep climate change manageable by reducing emissions.
However, the new research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also highlights how wood products represent only a small fraction of the necessary compensation. The world’s wood products compensate for only 1 percent of global emissions.
“Countries are looking for net negative emission strategies,” says study leader Craig Johnston. “Therefore, it is not just about reducing our emissions, but about looking for strategies that may have storage potential, and wood products are one of those options. It is good because you can look for options that do not hinder growth. The question is, can we continue to consume wood products and have the benefits of climate change associated with that consumption? ”
Although the production of wood products in 2015 offset less than 1% of global carbon emissions, the proportion was much higher for a handful of countries with large timber industries. Sweden, for example, offset 9% of the country’s carbon emissions that year, which represented 72% of emissions from industrial sources that year.
But for most countries, including the USA and many countries in Europe, wood products mitigated a much smaller fraction of total emissions in 2015, and this proportion is expected not to increase significantly until 2065, according to the Johnston team.
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