Bamboo, a fast-growing grass plant, should be promoted as a solution to climate change, environmental degradation and poverty, experts and policy makers assembled at the UN Climate talks here have advocated.
Quoting a study conducted by the Nature Conservancy, the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) said on Wednesday that natural climate solutions can deliver over 35 per cent of cost-effective carbon dioxide mitigation needed by 2030, but they are a critically overlooked part of most climate change discussions.
The INBAR is an independent intergovernmental organisation to develop and promote innovative solutions to poverty and environmental sustainability using bamboo and rattan.
The US-based Nature Conservancy is a charitable environmental organisation, which aims at conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends.
The policymakers and private sector representatives said bamboo -- commonly grown in Africa, Asia and South America -- can be an important way to 'green' infrastructure drives.
According to INBAR, bamboo's potential to mitigate climate change is realised at a high level in China.
A fast growing and durable plant, bamboo can be used for making heavy-duty materials, such as pipes and scaffolding, as well as used in housing purposes, the experts, which included UNFCCC director of policy and programme, said.
These bamboo-based products act as a sustainable, low-carbon alternative to timber, PVC, aluminium and concrete. Bamboo plants store more carbon in compared to certain species of trees and provide a year-round, climate-resilient form of income for millions of people around the world, they say.
Xie Zhenhua, China's Special Representative on Climate Change, said bamboo "can provide valuable opportunities for the green development of developing countries".
He also noted the possibility of bamboo becoming a part of China's new Emissions Trading Scheme, the largest in the world, as a way for polluting companies to offset emissions.
"Bamboo's role in carbon trade should be fully recognised. We are working to establish the regional and global carbon market, and the carbon sink created by bamboo forest and industry should be incorporated," Zhenhua said.
With the bamboo sector valued at over USD 30 billion, China is the leader in bamboo innovations.
Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, Jorge Chediek, said he was "inspired" by China's uses of bamboo as a carbon sink and to create a wide range of low-carbon products.
He said bamboo's ability to store carbon means they have "huge potential" to green emissions-intensive infrastructure projects.
UNFCCC director of policy and programme Martin Frick emphasised the importance of bamboo as a source of income and highlighted that 10 million people in China alone are employed in the bamboo sector.
"For me, bamboo is one of the things where the SDG agenda and the climate agenda really can go hand in hand," he said.
Canada's Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Stephen Lucas, asserted that his country believed in the importance of bamboo as "climate-smart solutions" to issues of unsustainable resource use and deforestation.
According to INBAR Director General Hans Friederich, the focus on bamboo was quite expected.
"2018 is the year of reckoning for plastic waste...It's natural that people are looking for low-carbon, reusable alternatives for plastic items, like bamboo...bamboo is more than just reusable cups and straws. It is also long-lasting, durable infrastructure, which can help make economic development more sustainable," he said.
India this year has restructured its National Bamboo Mission, which envisages promoting holistic growth of the bamboo sector by adopting area-based, regionally differentiated strategy and to increase area under bamboo cultivation and marketing.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)