Using Cross-Laminated Timber subsidies to couple the monocrop carbon-sequestering forestation industry with the carbon-producing

The commercial planting of carbon forests has become a popular atmospheric carbon sequestration response by both individuals and companies alike. Unfortunately, this has several problems, namely that often such plantations are monocrop cultures and are harvested for use in disposable products like paper. The production of disposable products from these plantations quickly leads to the carbon being re-emitted into the system when the product is disposed of and decomposes. As the awareness of monocrop impacts becomes stronger, and the wood harvesting for short-lifespan products increases, this action is becoming decreasingly beneficial for the post-carbon transition and is reaching criticality.

Meanwhile, cement used in the global construction industry emits nearly 8 of the worlds annual carbon emissions, which will continue to grow as more nations enter phases of heightened development.

The coupling of these two systems could work to create a positive feedback loop that contributes to the post-carbon transition. The potential for this lies in the use of Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), a relatively new, highly underused resource that allows for the construction of multistory buildings.

A SIP could be enacted in the form of a sustainable construction subsidy that promotes construction companies to use CLT or joint CLT-Cement building practices sourced from these monocrop carbon forests (and not natural forests). Linking the subsidy to these tree planting initiatives could trigger the harvesting of these trees for longer-term sequestration in buildings, which has a far greater sequestration time relative to other products that would normally be made by the wood material.

The demand for CLT would increase, increasing the production of carbon-sequestering wood, decreasing the price per unit of CLT, increasing the demand and scale. All the while, this would store atmospheric carbon short-term into trees and then long-term into buildings, while simultaneously reducing cement use and thus carbon emissions.

 

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Author

Brandon Whitley

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