Editor’s Note: In a three-part series starting today, Treesource will explore the potential roles of forests and wood products in addressing the global climate crisis.
Part 1: How can we use more wood, a renewable, biodegradable carbon sink, while also storing more carbon in forests across the U.S. and the world?
Part 2: A detailed look at the policy choices that governments, businesses and individuals must make.
Part 3: A look ahead to 2050. What could a more sustainable society look like, if forests and wood products were utilized in new ways?
In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a warning that one United Nations official called “a deafening, piercing smoke alarm going off in the kitchen.” For the world to avoid ecological and social catastrophe, the scientists said, humans must quickly and radically transform the systems that provide energy –- by ceasing to burn fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas emissions, they said, must drop by half no later than 2030, and to zero by 2050.
Three years later, in August 2021, the IPCC returned with what the UN’s secretary general labeled “a code red for humanity.” The wildfires, droughts, hurricanes and brutal cold snaps of recent years were evidence that so much carbon dioxide is already cooking the atmosphere that further calamities are inevitable.
And yet, the significant curtailment so urgently needed has not happened. Instead, greenhouse gas emissions actually increased between 2018 and 2021, the IPCC said.
Action is needed.
On many fronts.