Industry campaign says Government competition can’t see the wood for the trees.
Wood for Good – the timber industry’s sustainability and promotion campaign – is submitting an entry for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC’s) £1 billion carbon capture and storage (CCS) program.
It has unveiled plans for what it calls the cheapest, most efficient and effective carbon capture and storage system available: increased forest cover.
The organisation is promoting increased forest cover as a means of capturing and sequestering the UK’s carbon emissions and is calling on the Government to invest the available funds in new commercial forestry. Sustainable forestry practices harvest trees at the peak of their growth and carbon sequestration ability and replant them with more trees in a continuous, renewable cycle.
The carbon is stored indefinitely in the wood products harvested. These wood products in turn can substitute for a range of other higher carbon materials in manufacturing and construction. The by-products of production can also be used as substitutes for fossil fuels in energy production.
David Hopkins, Head of Communications for Wood for Good, said: “Increased forest cover is recognised as one of the most effective weapons we have in the battle against climate change. It is cost effective, efficient, does not require green-subsidies, and creates huge benefits for the economy throughout the forest products supply chain. Investing now would be a win-win for the environment and the economy.”
DECC launched the carbon capture and storage competition in February this year. In total, it will be awarding £1 billion in direct funding to support the construction of CCS facilities. If invested in commercial forestry this would allow for the planting of approximately 1.1 billion trees, covering 500,000 hectares, and capture an average of 10 million tonnes of carbon per year – equivalent to 36.7million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
This equates to less than £30 for each tonne of carbon dioxide captured and stored – while providing multiple biodiversity and ecosystem service benefits.
By contrast, Shell has recently announced plans to invest US$1.36 billion in carbon capture and storage at a tar sands project in Canada. This will capture 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year – a cost of over $1,000 per tonne.
Europe’s forests currently provide a carbon sink for 150-200 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, with an additional 500 million tonnes sequestered annually. In the UK alone, a mere four per cent increase in forest cover could deliver abatement equivalent to ten per cent of total GHG emissions.
“We are not arguing against the development of new technologies,” Hopkins added. “But, we do want to highlight the fact that existing industries with existing solutions can play a significant role in the green economy. If the Government is wondering where it can get the best bang for its buck in terms of carbon reduction and economic output, it should try to see the wood for the trees.”
Emerging LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change, Forestry) legislation in Europe is looking to acknowledge and account for the carbon stored in forests and wood products, increasing the importance of the sector to the green economy in coming years.
The Independent Panel on Forestry report recently highlighted the importance of UK forestry in sequestering carbon emissions and its role in the green economy. The report recommended that the development of wood-based industries and technologies is a key priority for support from the Green Development Bank.
Wood for Good is planning a series of activities around the country to highlight the benefits of the forestry industries and supply chains to the UK economy.
Issued on behalf of Wood for Good by Citypress
Ricky Ambury or Pete Lappin | 0161 235 0304 | firstname.lastname@example.org
About Wood for Good:
The Wood for Good campaign works on behalf of the whole timber industry in the UK. It aims to promote the suitability and sustainability of wood as a material to the building and manufacturing sectors and associated professionals such as architects, engineers and designers.