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Bamboo absorbs carbon, is cheap, can replace concrete & steel and can even be used to build high-rise buildings
August 22, 2018
You are already very familiar with bamboo. Where did you learn about its climate change potential?
Before [my post with the UNFCCC] I was the Climate and Environment Director of the FAO, which is not only a food and agriculture organisation but also the world forestry organisation. We were looking into combined solutions for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction. Very much like mangroves in coastal regions, bamboo offers a lot of benefits that really combine the SDGs and the climate agenda. FAO foresters are keen on bamboo, so I learned about the possibilities.
Were you surprised by any of the things bamboo can do?
Yes – and no. ‘Ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation’ is a fancy name for something people have been doing for thousands of years. Now, we are basically coming back to our roots, but also mixing traditional solutions with hi-tech and new possibilities.
Ecosystem-based approaches are particularly important for least developed countries, because money and capacity is an issue. Bamboo is not only sequestering carbon – it’s available; it’s cheap; and it has the ability to replace other building materials, such as concrete and steel, which gives it a double climate benefit.
There’s also an element of empowerment [for developing countries using bamboo]. You don’t have to be a rich nation to do your share in addressing climate change. And climate change mitigation and adaptation can also create big opportunities for development. For many years there was a wrong impression of trade-offs between climate and development policy. What we see here [at this Congress] is they go hand in hand. The SDGs are just the other side of the climate agenda coin.