Wood offers superior environmental benefits than brick, concrete, and steel, and should be used to construct more buildings, The Economist argues.
The material helps reduce energy consumption, improve energy efficiency and stores carbon, helping to curb climate change, but "industry fragmentation, vicious competition for contracts, and low-profit margins mean that most building firms have little money to invest in greener construction methods beyond what regulation dictates," the magazine argues.
Specifically, governments stand in the way of builders using more wood, affecting the construction industry's biggest client – the public sector.
"Zero-carbon building regulations should be altered to take account of the emissions that are embodied in materials," says the Economist.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide and continue to store the element, contributing to negative emissions, while cement-making produces 6 percent of the world's carbon emissions and steel accounts for another 8 percent.
A climate change report issued in October said governments around the world must take "rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" in order to avoid disastrous levels of global warming and limiting warming would require "rapid and far-reaching" transitions in energy, land, industry, buildings, transport, and cities.