I am a great believer in the power of photosynthesis to drag carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Indeed, if there are enough trees, such reafforestation would ameliorate the climate by reducing the warming. Especially if the carbon in that timber can then be stored in a form that stops it being sent back up into the atmosphere by burning, or being digested by fungi in landfill. For example the manufacture of wooden pallets uses about 40 per cent of the world's timber, but most are on a one-way journey to landfill.
Pyrolysing timber into biochar is one way to keep carbon immobile, but another is occupying the world’s architects – skyscrapers built of timber. Planning is underway for a 21-storey building in Amsterdam and an 80-storey skyscraper in London.
There are now hundreds of exemplars around the world of multi-storey, engineered timber buildings, including Sydney International House at Barangaroo, and the Stadthaus in London. In fact, Australia held the record with the 10-level Lend Lease Forte apartment building in Melbourne until an 18-storey building was built in Vancouver recently.
Such buildings have become feasible because of the increased load-bearing capacities of the new engineered products such as cross-laminated and glued laminated timbers.
The new technologies also mean that when wooden buildings are subject to fire, they now compare favourably against concrete and steel structures.
We need to actively reafforest the planet to prevent catastrophe. On the current trajectory we're in trouble. Massive revegetation is seen as an effective way of reducing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, building in timber might be the draw-through to kick-start this process.