Industrial logging is one of the country’s biggest climate polluters, accounting for more than 10 percent of Canada’s total global warming emissions.
That’s according to an analysis of the National Inventory Report produced by both Nature Canada and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a US environmental advocacy group.
In 2021, the amount of carbon dioxide produced by logging was 73 million tons, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of more than 22 million gas-powered vehicles.
Nature Canada published its own report to substantiate these findings. At the same time, it expressed its concern over the central government’s failure to act on commitments to clearly report logging emissions and reduce these emissions from the logging industry.
Michael Polanyi, policy and campaigns manager at Nature Canada, explained that the federal government reported emissions from both harvested timber products and forest lands as net flows from forest land and emissions associated with timber harvested for it.
„The number they come up with is close to zero,” he said.
„They recognize that there are huge emissions associated with removing wood from forests, but they claim credit for the development of large amounts of carbon sequestration in unlogged or unplanted forests. The Environment Commissioner recently wrote a report saying that the government is not telling Canadians what the logging industry’s net greenhouse gas emissions are.
Using data from the government’s own reporting, Nature Canada took the amount of carbon removed from forests each year and subtracted the amount of carbon added to long-term wood products (ie 2x4s, building materials, etc.). .) and the net carbon flux from regrowth after logging, which indicates how companies plant saplings that grow into trees that absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
The 73 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent figure is down slightly from the 2020 equivalent figure for logging’s emissions of 75 million tons. The long-term trend shows a reduction in net emissions from logging, mainly due to a decrease in the total area logged.
The federal audit came two weeks after criticizing the Trudeau government for failing to transparently report emissions in its National Inventory and 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan.
„That’s equivalent to ignoring all emissions from the province of Quebec. By not taking them into account, Canada’s climate plan is half-baked, and its forest policy is based on anecdotal stories that hide the true costs of widespread deforestation of primary forests,” said Jennifer Schein, NRDC’s natural climate solutions policy manager.
„I think everyone agrees that good policymaking when it comes to reducing emissions depends on accurate and transparent reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of the economy. That’s a problem,” Polanyi said.
Polanyi added that their work indicates that the net climate impact of industrial logging is significant.
„One of the major emitting sectors of the Canadian economy is logging,” he said.
„The government needs to acknowledge that and put effective policies in place to not only protect our climate and better protect the biodiversity on which Canada’s pine forests and primitives depend, but also to promote the sector’s transition to low-carbon approaches to forestry. Growth forest, but to support an industry that is competitive in the global marketplace, which is a sustainable There is a high demand for the products produced along the way.
James Gorman, West Fraser’s senior vice president of corporate government relations, affirmed his company’s commitment to being a responsible steward of the environment.
Globally accepted standards for how to account for carbon in land are still being developed, particularly important for forestry and agriculture. Earlier this year, West Fraser became one of the first Canadian companies to have science-based GHG emission reduction targets validated by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).
„This will reduce direct emissions controlled by West Fraser (Objective 1 emissions), such as combustion from company-owned equipment and indirect emissions from the energy we purchase (Objective 2) by 46.2 percent by 2030,” Gorman said.
„We are committed to reducing other indirect emissions by 25 percent by 2030 in our distribution transition (Goal 3).”
West Fraser is now in a good position to “economically reduce GHGs” with the Paris Agreement targets by 2030. Hinton Mill is in the early months of switching to single-line unbleached kraft pulp, a sign of growing global demand. For more environmentally friendly products. Such conversion eliminates bleaching chemicals such as chlorine dioxide from its processes.
Water usage at the plant has also decreased by about 23 percent. Other expected environmental benefits are reductions in waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions.
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