UBC Undergraduate Research

Carbon accounting approaches for harvested wood products Xie, Sheng Hao


This paper explains the importance of harvested wood products’ role in climate mitigation with life cycle analysis and carbon sink data collected by the U.S. and Finland. The delayed emissions of carbon in harvested wood products are the main reason why they can be treated as a carbon sink. In the U.S., HWP approximately offset total GHG emissions by 1.2% annually. In Finland, this number becomes 0.9%. The paper also presents the common carbon accounting approaches for harvested wood products at the moment. They are the IPCC default approach, the Stock Change Approach, the Atmospheric Flow Approach, the Production Approach, the Simple Decay Approach and the Stock Change Approach for HWP of Domestic Origin. On the statement of Durban Climate Conference, the Production Approach turns out to be the most favoured approach if a Party does not want to report their contribution of harvested wood products as zero. The final part of the paper discusses the incentives of each approaches in detail. The Stock Change Approach may not prevent nations from importing from unsustainable sources. The Atmospheric Flow Approach may stimulate exporting. The Production Approach “cleans up its own mess” as it fully includes the carbon flux that it encourages into the reporting boundary and discourages all the carbon flux it cannot include. This may be one of the possible reasons why the Production Approach is favoured. Other possible solutions for fair carbon accounting like reporting using combined approaches and reporting imports only from certified sources are also discussed.

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