Following the submission of Canada’s 2023 National Inventory Report (NIR) of greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) Vice President, Indigenous Relations and Forestry, Etienne Belanger, issued the following statement:
“Canada’s latest greenhouse gas emissions data confirms that while we are making progress as a country in reaching global emissions reduction targets, much more work remains to be done – particularly around mitigating worsening pest outbreaks and wildfires and their related impacts on our environment, human health, and vital community infrastructure.
Forestry and forest products are uniquely positioned to accelerate climate action in Canada. Wood is the only renewable building material, it stores carbon, and wood and wood fibre-based products are essential to lowering the carbon footprint of our homes, offices, and towns and cities.
Forestry enables and promotes activities like planting trees, building with wood, developing renewable and recyclable alternative products, and using biomass to replace more carbon intensive products, all of which play a role in Canada's 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan and our move to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
At the same time – the forest sector has already reduced its emissions from pulp and paper operations by nearly 70% since 1990 and we stand ready and able to do more.
The 2023 National Inventory Report confirms what the forest sector has long known to be true – that wildfires are by far the largest source of air pollution in Canada, with severe negative consequences for human health. The sector continues to raise community concerns with the federal government about the brutal consequences of catastrophic wildfires across the country and the need to do more to mitigate the growing risks.
Establishing an industrial strategy for Canada’s forest sector in partnership with the federal government, provincial governments, and Indigenous, community, and labour leaders is critical to our ability to address worsening natural disturbances, help us fight climate change, and strengthen economic prospects for rural and northern Canadian forestry families and communities.
We know that without sustainable forest management in Canada, wildfires and the associated GHG emissions would be even worse and more communities would be at risk. This speaks to the need for Canada to sustainably manage our forests more actively, not less. And when we say sustainable forest management, we are talking about more than just sustainable harvesting. Our sector continues to explore and implement new forest management strategies that help trees adapt to future climate conditions while minimizing the impacts of pest, fire, disease outbreaks.
Healthy and resilient forests are critical to the future of Canada’s environment, energy transition, and economy. The latest emissions report affirms our long-held belief that effective and sustainable forest management is essential to helping achieve Canada’s climate goals – now more than ever."
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, paper, and wood-based bioproducts producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $73-billion, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in hundreds of communities, providing 205,000 direct jobs and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country. FPAC and its members are committed to collaborating with Indigenous leaders, federal and provincial governments, labour partners, community groups, and other rightsholders and stakeholders to secure and advance the sector’s environmental, social, and economic potential for the long-term.