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Sierra Club issues new report about forest carbon and CLT

Updated: Sep 5, 2019

In July 2019, the Sierra Club issued a new report looking at how forests store carbon, and what it takes for wood in construction – including CLT – can result in a net increase of carbon stored. At its core, the report addresses the question, “Is using wood beneficial or detrimental in the fight against climate change?”

To be “climate-friendlier forestry,” Sierra Club suggests a long-term view of forest management must be taken. There is a trade-off between maximizing the short-term financial return on managed forests and enhancing the climate and other environmental benefits of forestry. The greatest challenge facing the uptake of climate-friendlier forestry on private lands is economic in nature, with three main ways to overcome this hurdle according to Sierra Club:

  1. Requiring climate-friendlier forestry by strengthening government regulations.

  2. Incentivizing it through policies that price carbon at a level that makes it financially attractive to forest owners, e.g. by taxing carbon emissions and using part of the proceeds to pay landowners for improving their management practices, or through carbon offset markets;

  3. Rewarding it through premiums or preferences in the marketplace, e.g. by preferentially sourcing FSC-certified products.

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