In the fight against climate change, the $300-billion U.S. logging and woods products industry has positioned itself as a purveyor of “natural climate solutions.” The idea is intuitive: Trees are the ultimate renewable resource. After they are cut they can be replanted, absorbing carbon once again as they mature.
Wood energy succored Homo sapiens and its ancestors for millions of years, the argument goes, and only during the last couple of centuries was it replaced with fossil fuels like coal. As our civilization begins the slow process of jettisoning fossil energy, logging interests assure us that wood products are not a retrogression but a way forward. The industry claims that forests that are felled sustainably — for construction, say, or for burning to produce electricity in utility-scale power plants — can provide jobs and energy, stimulate the economy, and even reduce society’s net carbon emissions.
Weyerhaeuser, the world’s largest private owner of timber as well as its largest paper and pulp company, now markets how “wood products help remove and store CO2 and reduce the impacts of climate change.” The U.S. Indu... Read more