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Will a Transition to Timber Construction Cool the Climate?

Churkina, Galina; Organschi, Alan

Inst. Ă–kologie

Timber construction is on the rise and its contribution to climate change mitigation has been widely discussed by scientists and practitioners alike. As midrise building with wood in cities spreads, it will lead to fundamental and systemic change in forests, the manufacturing of construction materials, and the character and performance of the built environment. In this paper, we discuss the multifaceted implications of the transition to building with timber in cities for climate, which include greenhouse gas emissions but also go beyond those potential benefits. We demonstrate that while a transition to timber cities can have a balancing effect on the global carbon cycle, the other accompanying effects may enhance, reduce, or diminish that effect on climate. A collaboration of practitioners with scientists will be required to steer this transition in a climate-friendly direction.