When used to replace fossil fuel-intensive materials such as steel and concrete, wood helps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which are believed to be causing changes to the Earth’s climate.
Most people know that forests help clean the air by removing pollutants, absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) and releasing oxygen (O2). Lesser known is the fact that trees incorporate the absorbed carbon into their wood—and the products made from that wood, such as lumber and furniture, continue to store the carbon indefinitely. Manufacturing processes associated with wood products also require less energy—and are responsible for far less greenhouse gas emissions—than steel or concrete. Add the fact that wood is renewable, recyclable and sustainable over the long term and its use emerges as an important part of the climate change solution.
In British Columbia, the opportunity to have a positive, long term impact is especially pronounced:
- BC is a global leader in sustainable forest management, which is critical because healthy, growing forests absorb carbon and are less susceptible to fire, insects and disease.
- BC is a major producer of wood products, which can replace energy-intensive materials such as steel and concrete.
- BC sawmills, plywood, OSB and pulp and paper mills are also major producers of renewable bio-energy from mill residues and have the potential to increase their production of green energy many fold, particularly given the abundance of areas impacted by the mountain beetle.
- Given the need for urgent action on climate change, and BC’s contribution of growing forests, wood products and bio-energy, it is clear that BC has a competitive advantage as well as an opportunity to become the “supplier of choice” worldwide.
The B.C. forest sector has been tracking its carbon footprint for more than twenty years and has delivered significant reductions through investments in new processes and technology. This includes fuel switching, increased use of biomass fuels and greater efficiency in both energy generation and its use.
Carbon Emissions from B.C. Forest Sector Facilities
Get more information at www.bcclimatechange.ca. Watch the video, download the book Tackle Climate Change Use Wood and access other resources.