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Assessing the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Potential of Harvested Wood Products Substitution in China

Geng, Aixin, Chen, Jiaxin, Yang, Hongqiang
Environmental science & technology 2019 v.53 no.3 pp. 1732-1740
carbon, construction industry, furniture, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, manufacturing, pollution control, wood, China
Substituting harvested wood products (HWP) for greenhouse gas (GHG) intensive nonwood materials in long-lived end uses has the potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions. To determine the mitigation effects of HWP substitution, we produced China-specific wood displacement factors (DFs) by HWP end use subcategory, defined as tonnes of carbon (tC) of reduced emissions per tC contained by the HWP substituted for typical alternative nonwood materials. The weighted average DFs for substituting HWP for nonwood materials in construction and furniture production in China were estimated to be 3.48 tC/tC and 1.36 tC/tC, respectively, or 2.90 tC/tC for HWP substitution when these two sectors were combined. If annual solid HWP consumption in China increased by 10% on the basis of 2014 consumption (an increase of 25.9 million m³ of HWP) and these HWP were used to substitute for GHG-intensive materials in construction and furniture production, 18.76 Mt C of emission reduction can be achieved annually. Substituting HWP for nonwood materials in construction appeared to be more effective than in furniture manufacture in mitigating GHG emissions. Our study suggested that increasing HWP use in China, especially in the construction industry to substitute for nonwood materials can significantly contribute to China’s emission reduction targets.