The Latin America and Caribbean region disgorges 371 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the consumption of wood and coal. Jointly they produce about 9 million tons of coal. This has a huge impact on the atmosphere and global warming. However, using wood as a greener energy source has great potential to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
The Latin American and Caribbean region is the world second largest region with the highest production and use of charcoal per person, following Africa, which generates 32 million tons. These data are taken from a new report released last week by United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The “The charcoal transition” report also notes that Brazil generates the largest amount of charcoal at regional and global levels, with just over 6 million tons, which represents 12% of the global total.
Coal production and consumption
In Brazil, this coal derived from wood is used mainly for the industrial sector, with metallurgy being the most consuming, with 80%. Meanwhile, in other countries in the region, its use is concentrated in the food sector and other needs in households, the UN publishes on its website.
This production, they warn, is closely linked to greenhouse gases emission. The report notes that switching from traditional to modern industrial furnaces reduces emissions by 80%. In turn, ceasing the rudimentary forms of cooking with firewood and coal reduces that pollution by 60%, the UN points out.
Enhanced technologies for energy conversion
In addition, achieving a greener wood energy sector (dendro- energy refers to the use of wood as a source of energy) has great potential for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and improving rural livelihoods, FAO said on Tuesday in coincidence with the International Day of Forests of the United Nations, which this year was celebrated with the motto “Forests and energy”.
According to the study by FAO 7% of the region’s energy needs are met with energy derived from wood. And in terms of emissions, the UN notes that Latin America and the Caribbean are responsible for disgorging into the atmosphere 371 million metric tons of carbon dioxide resulting from the consumption of wood and the use of coal, which contributes to global warming.
The document highlights that up to 7 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the production and use of fuel–wood and charcoal globally. “This is largely due to unsustainable forest management and the inefficient manufacture of charcoal and the burning of firewood,” FAO claims.
Referring to this year’s International Day of Forests´ theme, “Forests and Energy,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva noted that “we need, for example, to adopt improved technologies for energy conversion,” adding that FAO is participating in various programs to produce efficient low-consumption stoves, especially for the poor in Latin America and Africa. He cited a project in South Sudan, where FAO and its partners have already distributed more than 30 000 improved stoves.