Canada’s Forest Industry on Target with Kyoto

Forest biomass has many uses, and the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is trying to get as many environmentally friendly uses out of the resource as possible. FPAC has emissions targets to meet through the Kyoto Protocol, and stated that it has meet its climate change commitments even before the Protocol became a formal treaty on February 16, this year.

Since 1990, the forest products industry has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent while increasing production by over 30 percent – surpassing its Kyoto targets by more than four times, an industry press release stated. The forest products industry has also signed an agreement with Environment Canada committing it to a further 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off of the road by 2010. “The industry has achieved significant reductions in emissions and is committed to going further,” said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC. “More importantly, the industry has been able to avoid an environment versus economy trade-off, and instead adopt new technologies that improve the environment while increasing economic performance and respecting the social imperatives of our employees and the communities within which the industry operates.” Canada’s pulp and paper sector currently meets 52 percent of its energy demands with biomass, which is considered a clean, carbon-neutral energy source derived from forest industry byproducts such as bark, wood shavings and sawdust. The sector is now the largest industrial source of cogeneration or combined heat and power capacity in Canada. A number of breakthrough technologies currently under development hold the potential to increase this potential. “The industry is not waiting,” Lazar said. “Our companies continue to target reductions in emissions of sulphur dioxide, particulates and other compounds as part of their normal investment cycle. Since 1992, pulp and paper mills have reduced particulate emissions by half, sulphur dioxide by 20 percent, total sulphur gases by 45 percent, and we’re ready to do more.” FPAC is the voice of Canada’s wood, pulp and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade and environmental affairs. Canada’s forest industry represents 3 percent of Canada’s gross domestic product and exports CAD 40 billion (US $32.5 billion) of wood, pulp and paper annually.