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The walls of log houses is an easily verifiable carbon storage. CO2, which is naturally captured by trees, could be safely stored there.



Fossil fueled power plants emit more than one-third of the CO2 emissions worldwide [1]. Their emissions  could be captured and pumped into geological reservoirs for long-term storage. Such systems are known as CCS (carbon capture and storage) systems. There are several ongoing projects demonstrating  feasibility of this solution for carbon dioxide removing from the atmosphere [2]. 

However, some calculations [3] suggest  that CCS systems do the job that forest ecosystems are already doing for us. What is the reason to pump CO2 in geological reservoirs, when it is naturally "pumped" into the wood? Wood is much more easy to store than gas. It could be stored in trenches,  in shelters, or in any other place where it could be preserved from decay.

The basic idea of this proposal is that the most verifiable place for storing carbon, which is naturally captured from the atmosphere by trees, is  the walls of log houses.  The life span of an average log house is quite long, and a residential area where log houses are common forms a persistent carbon reservoir.  Since houses are normally registered as property,  the amount of carbon stored in this carbon reservoir could be assessed on regular basis.

One could create an individual carbon storage by building a log home, maintaining it in a well condition, and transferring to the next generation.  A log home of 100 square meter contains  about 50 cubic meters of wood, and each cubic meter of wood contains 0.2-0.3 ton of carbon, that corresponds to 0.8 - 1.1 ton of CO2 removed from the atmosphere. Thus, one could remove about 50 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere by building and maintaining a log home.

Is it a big number? No, it is not.  Although CO2 emissions  per capita are as low as 0.1 tons of CO2 per year in some less developed countries, in the more developed countries they vary from 5 to 17 tons of CO2 per year. 

Nevertheless, CCS based on the use of wood is a transparent solution for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Category of the action


What actions do you propose?

Who will take these actions?

Where will these actions be taken?

What are other key benefits?

The proposed participatory development of the guidelines for designing carbon capture and storage systems based on the use of wood will help forest industry to find its place in the world effort on combating climate change.For example, the  annual allowable cut in Russian managed forests is estimated at 551 millions cubic meters per year [4]. This amount of wood contains the amount of carbon comparable with the annual CO2 emission from Russian  power plants [5]. However, only a small portion of the harvested wood is used to produce long-lived wood products [6].

The other benefit of the proposed activity is that it calls attention to the log houses as a solution for such a long-standing problem as a shortage of adequate housing for pensioners. Just imagine how many low-cost houses could be built  merely at the cost of capturing and storing carbon released at  power plants!

What are the proposal’s costs?

The proposal costs include the costs of publishing the guidelines and supporting materials (such as research articles in peer-reviewed open-access journals), honoraria for leading and contributing authors, the cost of renting a suitable  internet-based system for harnessing collective intelligence, and the costs associated with the project administration. The total cost is estimated at 120-240 thousands of USD.

Time line

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