OTTAWA, May 2, 2016 (CNW) -The Canadian forest products industry is pledging to help Canada move to a low-carbon economy by removing 30 megatonnes (MT) of CO2 per year by 2030 — more than 13% of the Canadian government's emissions target.
The "30 by 30" Climate Change Challenge was issued today by the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), making the forest sector the first to voluntarily contribute to the federal government's climate goals. Canada has signed the Paris agreement on climate change and is now promising to reduce emissions by 30%, the equivalent of cutting 225 MT of CO2 a year by 2030.
The forest sector has a solid record of reducing greenhouse gases from its manufacturing processes. Since 1990 for example, Canada's pulp and paper industry has reduced GHG emissions by about 66%.
"Our industry is uniquely positioned to be a crucial part of the solution to climate change because our renewable forests and forest products all store carbon," says Derek Nighbor, the CEO of FPAC. "We want to step up to the plate and do our part to help Canada reach its ambitious targets".
The sector has calculated the 30MT can be reached by such measures as forest management practices that can maximize carbon storage in the forest and spur the growth of trees, by increasing the use of innovative forest products and clean tech to displace materials made from fossil fuels, and by further efficiencies at mill sites.
"According to a survey of international customers by Leger Marketing, Canada's forest products industry has the best environmental practices and reputation in the world," says the President and CEO of Resolute Forest Products, Richard Garneau. "The forest sector is already ahead of the curve, for example in significantly cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Now our industry is taking the next step by raising the bar yet again, helping Canada reach its new climate goals."
Ted Seraphim, President and CEO of West Fraser, adds "30 by 30 is an important challenge, and one we have the determination to achieve. Our sector, in partnership with governments at all levels, has been able to accelerate our progress to reach our ambitious targets. We are ready to step up again and make a significant contribution to Canada's climate goals."
FPAC is now working hard on a detailed road map to further flesh out the details on how it intends to meet the Climate Change Challenge. For more details on the challenge go to fpac.ca/30by30.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna welcomes the plan: "I truly appreciate how the forest products industry has become the first sector to unveil how it can help Canada reach its emissions reduction target. This is the kind of contribution that we need from industry and I would encourage other sectors to show similar initiative"
Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr, also welcomed the announcement: "There can be no global solution to climate change without the forest sector, and the 30x30 challenge demonstrates the sector's leadership. Through innovation in sustainable forest management, tall wood buildings, and the development of forest-based bio-products, including biofuels, the forest sector continues to adapt to meet the demands of changing global markets and the goal of a low- carbon economy."
The executive director of the Canadian Climate Forum, Deirdre Laframboise: "Canada needs leadership from all sectors if we are truly to become a climate change responsible nation. FPAC has shown such leadership with '30 by 30', and the Canadian Climate Forum applauds and supports this important initiative. The wise management of our forests and their products as proposed by FPAC can have a significant contribution to Canada meeting its domestic greenhouse gas emission targets, as well as those committed to under our international commitments made at COP21, December 2015."
FPAC CEO, Derek Nighbor will be holding a conference call at 1:00 pm eastern for media.
Conference number is 1-888-289-4573 (North America); Participant passcode 4785306#
FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $65-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.