Will a Shift From Fossil Fuels to Wood Products Help Us Meet Climate Goals?

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According to the latest report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, replacing fossil fuels with renewable wood fuels will be an important step in the effort to meet the world’s climate goals.

The report builds upon Forests and Climate Change Working Paper 6, which was published by the FAO last year and concluded that renewable biomass energy was the best way to “decarbonise the global economy before massive investments [would] lock.. [the world] into a trend of rising emissions.”

State of the Wood Industry

This latest report seeks to explore the role of wood-based products in providing green alternatives that will help the world reach a Net Zero future. It starts off with an overview of the conventional wood product economy across the world, including the use of wood as a a durable construction material and as an inexpensive heat source.

What Is Woodtech?

The report then moves mentions the latest innovations in wood-product technology. While the term woodtech may still sound grating to the ears, it doesn’t appear that will be the case for long.

From next-gen bark briquettes that can burn upwards of 12 hours to a futuristic wood-based glass substitute that is both lighter and stronger than conventional glass, woodtech companies are constantly finding ways to create wood-based products with previously unseen properties.

 

Moving Towards a Bioeconomy

According to the report, in order to effectively control climate change the world needs to transition to a bioeconomy. And one of the most important aspects of such a transition is finding renewable substitutes to fossil fuel products in the production of textile fabrics, product packaging, energy, feed, and food.

A world based on a bioeconomy will not be overly reliant on non-renewable natural resources for growth, which will make reaching Net Zero Goals much less painful for everyone.

What Is Currently Being Done?

The report highlighted that the European Union, the United States, China, New Zealand, and Turkey already have bioeconomy strategies and action plans in place. Measures undertaken by these governments include reducing regulatory barriers and fast-tracking the development of renewable alternatives to traditional products via grants and tax breaks. 

The EU’s plan pays particular attention to helping biotechnology firms develop solutions for improving the productivity and efficiency of biomass-based products.

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Bioeconomy in the Here and Now

Sales of engineered wood products has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. And wood-based textile fabric alternatives, such as Lyocell, might become a popular alternative to polyester and viscose as soon as the 2030s.

While these wood-based alternatives are currently more expensive to manufacture than their plasic counterparts, the general public is more environmentally-aware than ever. Which means that more and more people are becoming open to paying a little bit more for their consumer goods in exchange for a brighter future.

 

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