Integrate Competitive Thinking Into Aggressive Government Action On Climate Change

Addressing an audience at the Business of Climate Change conference in Toronto today, Avrim Lazar, the President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) called on the federal government to step-up targeted action on climate change.

“The question is not should we move on the environment but how do we move to make competitiveness the lens through which we design aggressive environmental progress,” said Mr. Lazar.

FPAC is calling on governments at all levels to step up the next generation of climate change programs and policy arguing the climate problem is global, driven by the structure of the economy, and increasingly pressing.  Canada’s approach needs to be structured in light of these facts.

“Canadians have been clear about their expectations for strong government leadership on both the environment and a competitive economy throughout the recent election campaign.  Regardless of what’s happening with the TSX or NYSE, now is the time to fully integrate competitive economic thinking into environmental planning. Ignoring environmental pressures during hard economic times will just put Canada further behind the curve.  Industry has no choice but to take action on climate change in order to remain competitive – our customers around the world demand it.  And more than ever before, we need to know our governments are on board,” said Mr. Lazar.

In his speech, Mr. Lazar outlined four tests which should be used to assess environmental policies to ensure they address both the climate and the economy.  These include:

  1. Does the policy accelerate the deep re-tooling of Canadian industry to allow for a low carbon footprint future? Tax and policy measures all have a significant impact on the speed of re-tooling.
  2. Is the policy trade neutral? Disadvantaging Canadian industry on global trade can have the perverse impact of harming the global environment and exporting jobs to polluting countries.
  3. Is the policy designed with international markets, rather than domestic jurisdictional boundaries in mind? The economy that has to change does not reside within provincial or even national jurisdictions. Harmonizing nationally and within North America is therefore essential.
  4. Does the policy prepare the economy for a changed climate?  Policy must account for a changed climate as much as it does for mitigating against a changing climate.

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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 is an $80-billion dollar a year industry that represents over 2% of Canada’s GDP. The industry is one of Canada’s largest employers, operating in over 300 Canadian communities and providing nearly 900,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.

For more information, contact:

Fiona McDonald
Communications Coordinator
Forest Products Association of Canada
fmcdonald@fpac.ca 613-563-1441 x318
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