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  • Tackle Climate Change:Use Wood


    Disclaimer: While every effort has been takento ensure the accuracy of the contents of thispublication, no responsibility for any errors offact or interpretation can be accepted by theauthors or publishers.

    ContributorsGunilla BeyerNordic Timber CouncilSwedish Forest Industries Federation

    Manu DefaysBelgian Woodforum

    Martin FischerGerman Timber Promotion Fund

    John Fletcherwood for good

    Eric de MunckNetherlands Timber Information Centre

    Filip de JaegerChris Van RietKaren VandewegheKris WijnendaeleCEI-Bois

    First edited in February 2006Second edition June 2006Third edition November 20061st revision 20092nd revision: December 2011

    Front cover left

    Picture ke E:son Lindman







  • In March 2000, the European Council in Lisbon set out a ten-year strategy to

    make the EU the worlds most dynamic and competitive economy. A key factor

    in turning this strategy into reality is the concept of sustainable development, a

    concept which requires progress towards promoting growth and jobs to be

    pursued alongside progress towards ensuring social cohesion and a better

    environment. Tackling climate change is one of the issues that are crucial for

    sustainable development.

    The European Union is actively involved in ensuring Member States cooperate on tackling climate

    change. For example, the EU is currently dealing with major issues like the sustainable management

    of natural resources and the halting of biodiversity loss in Europe. 2006 will be an important year for

    creating a worldwide approach to climate change, as commitments will be undertaken for the post-

    2012 period of the Kyoto Protocol.

    The European woodworking industries are genuinely committed to sustainable development, not least

    because their raw material comes from sustainably managed forests. As the European Commission

    concluded recently, Forest products definitely play a role in mitigating Climate Change by increasing

    carbon removals from the atmosphere. Their specific properties, such as carbon storage capacity, high

    recyclability, renewability of their raw material, and the fact that they are less fossil-fuel intensive than

    other materials, make them the products of choice in the context of policies to fight Climate Change

    by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing greenhouse gas removals (DG Enterprise,

    Report regarding the role of Forest Products for Climate Change Mitigation, 2004).

    With this publication we want to contribute to a better understanding of the environmental benefits to

    be gained by making wider use of wood and wood-based products. In addition to the inherent positive

    qualities of wood-based products, the handbook also aims to show the substantial contribution of the

    woodworking industries to employment and welfare creation in Europe, particularly in rural areas.


    This book is offered to you by:

    Designed and produced by Ideas


    Catherine GUY-QUINTMember of theEuropean Parliament

  • Tackle Climate Change:Use Wood

  • 2Wood is an extraordinary material. Naturally renewable, it

    grows in ever-increasing abundance in Europe.

    It is beautiful, light and strong to build with, warm and

    welcoming to live with.

    And it offers a simple way to reduce the CO2 emissions that

    are the main cause of Climate Change, through:

    the carbon sink effect of the forests;

    the carbon storage effect of wood products;

    substitution for carbon-intensive materials.

    The purpose of this book is to set out the environmental

    arguments for using wood as one way of reducing Climate

    Change, at the same time as putting the industrys economic

    contribution in context.

    It has been estimated that an annual 4% increase

    to 2010 in Europes wood consumption would

    sequester an additional 150 million t CO2 per year

    and that the market value of this environmental

    service would be about 1,8 billion a year.CEI-Bois, Roadmap 2010, Executive Summary, 2004

    While the European timber industry recognizes the

    importance of the sustainable triple bottom line, where long

    term economic development must be balanced against the

    need to respect the environment and the interests of society

    as a whole, setting universal targets is impossible, given its

    diversified and fragmented structure across Europe.

    However, the main issues have been recognized and are

    being addressed. These, in common with most industries,

    include the health of the workforce, safety at work, a

    reduction in sick leave, flexible working hours, training,

    gender equality, Corporate Social Responsibility, impact on

    local societies, ecological impact and environmental impact.





    social inclusioncommunities

    Economy Environment







    The industry recognizes thetriple bottom line of sustainabledevelopment

  • 31 Climate ChangeCO2 emissions are the main cause 6

    Cutting CO2 emissions 10

    Wood and CO2 reduction 12

    2 Europes forests: a renewable resourceEuropes forests are growing 20

    Europes forests are sustainable 24

    Certification 28

    3 How wood products help slowGlobal WarmingAssessing the CO2 impact of different materials 32

    How much CO2 can be saved by using wood? 38

    The main opportunities for substituting wood products 40

    European legislation 44

    4 The eco-cycle of wood andwood-based productsThe carbon cycle of wood-based products 48

    Wood re-use 50

    Wood recycling 52

    Wood and energy recovery 54

    5 The benefits of using woodBuilding with wood 60

    Living with wood 64

    6 The Industry: facts and figuresIndustry significance 70

    Industry value 72

    Industry sectors 74

    Wood products 76

    Promotion and research initiatives 80

    Notes 82

    Definition of terms 83

    Additional literature & Acknowledgements 84


  • Climate Change

    The effects are already evident

    CO2 emissions are the main cause

    Wood can reduce CO2 sources

    Wood can increase CO2 sinks

  • The greenhouse effectThe term greenhouse effect refers to the way infrared

    radiation from the Earth is trapped, heating up the


    Solar radiation reaches the Earth through the atmosphere

    and warms its surface. The stored energy is then sent back

    to space as infrared radiation. However, as it is less powerful

    than the incoming radiation, it is increasingly unable to cross

    the barrier of specific atmospheric gases known as

    greenhouse gases.

    The most important greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2),

    but others include steam (H2O), methane (CH4), nitrous

    oxide (N2O), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and sulphur

    hexafluoride (SF6).

    It is important not to confuse the natural greenhouse effect,

    without which the Earths mean temperature would drop

    from around 15C to 18C, with the contribution mankind

    is making to intensifying the effect, largely through rapidly

    increasing CO2 emissions.

    Global WarmingSince the start of the industrial revolution there has been

    a sharp increase in greenhouse gas emissions into the

    atmosphere, mainly due to CO2 from the burning of fossil

    fuels, but also from tropical deforestation.

    As a result, mean temperatures are expected to rise at a

    rate of 0,1 to 0,4C per decade during the first half of this


    Most (55-70%) of the additional greenhouse effect is

    caused by CO2. Growing by 0,5% a year, according to the

    most optimistic estimates, the concentration of CO2 in the

    atmosphere will double by 21002.


    CO2 emissions are themain cause


    CO2 emissions are largely dueto the burning of fossil fuels

    Opposite above

    CO2 concentrations in theatmosphere have increased by30% since the middle of the19th centurySwedish Forest Industries Federation,Forests and the Climate, 2003

  • 72000190018001700












    The increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere

    + 30% CO2

  • 8

  • The first effectsThere is no longer any doubt that the climate is changing, or

    that this change is amplified by human activity. According to

    the latest report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on

    Climate Change), the 20th century was the warmest since

    records began, the 90s the warmest decade, 1998 the

    warmest year.

    The first effects have already been clearly documented and

    point the way to much more widespread and destructive

    changes in the future:

    the North Pole ice cap is melting: between 1950 and

    2000 its surface has diminished by 20%3

    global sea levels have already risen by about 15cm in the

    20th century alone1

    all over the planet, snow cover is retreating and glaciers

    are melting

    there is a significant increase in the frequency and

    severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes, droughts,

    earthquakes and floods, tragically borne out by events in

    the first years of the 21st century.

    The forecast effectsThe effects of climate change are diff