Harvesting wood has overlooked carbon costs

Written by
Tim Searchinger, Liqing Peng, Richard Waite, and Jessica Zionts
Aug. 24, 2023

Research papers and policymakers have largely overlooked the contribution that harvesting wood has on fueling climate change, but a closer look tells a much different story.

In a paper published in Nature, we estimate that global wood harvests will add 3.5 to 4.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere annually over the coming decades. That’s roughly 10% of recent annual emissions of carbon dioxide. It’s also more than 3 times the annual emissions from aviation and roughly the equivalent of emissions from deforestation and conversion of pastures for agricultural expansion. 

Read more in the full blog available at World Resources Institute, or the FAQ about the paper.