Journal

How will timber buildings help New Zealand meet Kyoto

Dr Andy Buchanan University of Canterbury

Forestry is a cornerstone of the New Zealand government’s approach to meeting its commitments to the Kyoto Protocol. It is well known that trees, as they grow, absorb carbon from the atmosphere, some of which is retained in wood and wood products, and that carbon absorbed by new forests can be used to offset emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning of fossil fuels.

An increasing volume of carbon retained in timber buildings or other wood products might also be used to offset
emissions of carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels, except that this is not permitted under the Kyoto Protocol
accounting system.

The tangible benefit of using more wood in buildings is the reduced CO2 emissions resulting from the smaller amount of fossil fuel energy required to manufacture wood compared with that needed to manufacture more energy intensive materials.

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