The charcoal transition: greening the charcoal value chain to mitigate climate change and improve local livelihoods

Greening the wood energy sector holds a vast potential for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and improving rural livelihoods, FAO said on the occasion of the UN's International Day of Forests. Up to seven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans come from the production and use of fuelwood and charcoal. This happens largely due to unsustainable forest management and inefficient charcoal manufacture and fuelwood combustion, according to a new FAO report. Referring to this year's theme "Forests and Energy", FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva noted that "for more than two billion people worldwide, wood fuel means a cooked meal, boiled water for safe drinking, and a warm dwelling." This is especially important for poor people in rural areas of developing countries, where wood is often the only energy source available, he said at the International Day of Forests ceremony in Rome. However, he warned that much of the current production of wood fuel is unsustainable, contributing significantly to the degradation of forests and soils and the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In many regions the conversion to charcoal is often done using rudimentary and polluting methods, he said, urging countries to reverse these negative trends in wood energy production and use.