Copenhagen: Back to wood

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Wood products and sustainable forestry play a significant role in the fight against climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has noted that the promotion of good forest growth conditions, sustainable forestry and wood-based products are excellent ways with which to protect the climate. These matters are of supreme importance to Finland and they will also be on the EU’s agenda during the negotiations in Copenhagen. 
 
The new climate treaty must recognise the significance of wood products as long-term carbon sinks. This would represent a substantial step forward in climate policy and it would encourage the sustainable utilisation of wood and forests. This would also help reduce the deforestation of tropical woodlands which is at present a substantial source of emissions.
 
Sustainable forestry removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, producing a renewable raw material that acts as a carbon sink. This provides a unique opportunity to build a low-carbon society. Products that are made from wood offer a climate-friendly solution to growing consumption needs in construction, interior decoration and packaging.
 
The Copenhagen negotiators will also talk about the recovery of atmospheric carbon dioxide through artificial means. It should be borne in mind that sustainable forestry and the increased utilisation of carbon-storing wood products have served as a natural carbon recovery method for millennia already and this is set to continue. This process is sometimes referred to as organic CCS (carbon capture and storage).
 
Granting wood a positive climate status is a free way to curb climate change all over the world. Let’s do away with non-renewable and fossil raw materials – by returning to timber. As a country that utilises wood diversely, Finland has the opportunity to show initiative on this matter and remain at the forefront of developments.
 
Ahti Fagerblom,
From the land of the Little Mermaid
 
P.S. The Copenhagen negotiators are literally sitting on, and around, this matter, as the negotiation rooms are furnished with Danish wooden chairs and tables. This is a reminder of how significant wood products are. In all likelihood, you are reading this while surrounded by wooden furniture, paperboard packaging and paper products. All that carbon bound by growing wood and now stored away from disturbing the climate.
 
The author is in charge of energy and climate policy at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation and he is observing the decisions being made at the Copenhagen Climate Conference and the phenomena surrounding the event from land, water and air. Stay tuned to this channel for more on the climate conference as negotiations progress!