Found in 1 comment on Hacker News
philipkglass · 2021-03-29 · Original thread
36 billion tons of CO2 came from industry and fossil fuel combustion in 2019. [1] CO2 is about 27% carbon by mass. Cellulose is about 44% carbon by mass [2]. That means about 22 billion tons of cellulose needed to offset one year's worth of CO2 emissions.

In 2014, use of wood products in all notable categories combined was about 1.25 billion tons [3]. Including just sawnwood and wood paneling, it was 0.827 billion tons. Since there's no plausible way to use 2500% as much lumber for structural purposes as we do now, and just harvesting wood and leaving it outdoors will lead to decomposition on short (decades) time scales, people consider charring it and/or burying it underground. Just building more structures out of wood is barely going to put a dent in the problem.

Likewise, dynamically shifting the equilibrium toward wood from CO2 doesn't help much if the wood persists for only decades. The time scale for CO2 to naturally return to its pre-industrial equilibrium is more like 100,000 years [4]. We need sequestration measures that prevent CO2 from returning to the atmosphere over longer time periods than wood takes to decay naturally.





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