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Wood and CO2

LIGNO Group Feb 4, 2022 Sustainable development 0 Comments

Forests play a critical role in climate change mitigation as they are the main absorbers of carbon dioxide (CO2). According to the European Commission in the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030 (2021), forests absorb about 10% of CO2 emissions in the European Union. In 2018 was published the Global Carbon Budget research, which states that the world's forests absorb about a third of the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe notes that one tree can absorb up to 150 kg of carbon dioxide per year, and according to 2019 data, the world's forests store approximately 296 gigatons of CO2. In the EU, coniferous forests predominate, they occupy approximately 50% of the area, 27% are deciduous forests, and 23% are mixed forests.

776 million cubic meters of wood are grown annually in Europe. Only 490 million cubic meters are harvested, thereby increasing the total forest area of Europe by 286 million cubic meters per year [1].

Source: Wood Days

Wood in the circular economy

Wood is a natural building material that can be reused and recycled, it plays an important role in the circular economy.

Source: Australian Sustainable Hardwoods

Unlike other materials, wood is easily recyclable and can store absorbed carbon dioxide. In the European Union, wood products, including furniture and decor made from recycled materials, have become popular.

Wood waste is also used to produce chipboard, pallets, boxes, cardboard and much more. In the case when wood raw material cannot be processed, it is converted into an energy source - biofuel. It can replace fossil fuels such as coal, oil, or natural gas. But, when burning wood, the same amount of carbon dioxide is released as was previously absorbed.

Multiple reuse and recycling, which are the main principles of the circular economy, will not only help extend the life of a wood product, but also improve the climate, reduce CO2 emissions.

WoodCircus, a project promoting a circular economy in the EU, has estimated in 2021 that the construction sector generates 70.5 million tons of wood waste annually. Only a third of them are recycled and reused, the rest is disposed of.

You can read more about this project in the article "PROJECT WOODCIRCUS".

Wood is a renewable resource

Renewable resources are natural resources that are restored faster than they are used or the reduction in their number is not noticeable even with long-term use.

Wood is a renewable natural resource, by using it as a building material, people reduce their ecological footprint and lead a sustainable lifestyle.

The 2020 Circulatory Gap Report lists renewable resources at the top of the 7 key elements of a circular economy. Ensuring the efficient use of renewable natural resources, namely wood and wooden products, is the key to the future of our descendants and planet Earth.

Wood fuel currently provide 40% of renewable energy, the same as solar power, wind power and hydropower in conjunction.

The European Commission, according to the New EU Forest Strategy, plans to reduce the use of fossil fuels by up to 20% by 2030 and replace it with biofuels from renewable resources. You can learn more about the European Forest Strategy in the article "NEW EU FOREST STRATEGY FOR 2030"

Increasing investment in technological innovation and sustainable forest management is key to enhancing the role of wood as a source of renewable energy.

Wood is a building material that stores CO2

As trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen. The use of wood in construction and the manufacture of wooden products reduces the amount of carbon dioxide by storing it, as well as avoiding greenhouse gas emissions.

UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) emphasizes that the use of wood in the construction industry reduces CO2 emissions by about 40% when used instead of concrete and by 30% when used instead of steel. Global carbon emissions could be reduced by 31% if wood was used in construction instead of concrete and steel. Throughout the life of a wooden building, carbon dioxide is stored in the structure.

Source: XLAM INC

Wood leaves smaller ecological footprint than steel or concrete, which require 3-4 times more water and almost 2 times more fossil fuels to produce.

Wood helps to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere (dry weight of wood is 50% CO2), this material stores carbon dioxide and helps to reduce the greenhouse effect, thereby slowing down climate change.

Wood is the future of modern ecological cities, where emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere are minimized.

Let's contribute to a sustainable future together!

Tags: climate

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