Climate Impacts of Timber Construction

Thursday, September 16, 2021 - 11:30am

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Climate Impacts of Timber Construction

Timber construction is on the rise and its contribution to climate change mitigation has been widely discussed. Substituting timber for mineral-based materials has a high potential in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from construction sector and accumulation of carbon in cites. In my presentation, I will discuss the multifaceted implications of transition to timber cities for climate, which include greenhouse gas emissions but also go beyond that. I will also address the challenges that timber construction industry might face with ongoing climate change.

Galina Churkina, Guest Senior Scientist, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany

I am a mathematician trained at the Department of Mechanics and Mathematics, Moscow State Lomonosov University, Russia and morphed into a quantitative ecologist at the School of Forestry, University of Montana, USA. I researched and taught at the flagship institutions and universities including Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (USA), School of Natural Resources and Environment at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (USA), Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (Germany), Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (Germany), and Humboldt Universit├Ąt zu Berlin (Germany). Currently I am a guest senior scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany.

Over time, my research focus shifted from natural ecosystems to human-dominated ones such as cities, which still fascinate me. I was among the pioneers of holistic studies of the urban carbon cycle, spearheaded the idea of cities becoming carbon sinks, and outlined the methodology for their quantification. I was the first to show the prominence of the urbanization effect on the global carbon cycle. Throughout my career, together with my colleagues we noticeably advanced understanding of the climatic and anthropogenic controls on the net primary productivity of the biosphere, the interactions between carbon/nitrogen cycles and the climate, as well as the tradeoffs of tree planting campaigns for urban dwellers. I hold the Woman of Distinction Award from the Soroptimist International of Americas and the Aquila Capital Transformation Award from Aquila Capital.

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