December 12, 2005

Forest Products Assn, The Climate Group to work together on climate change mitigation

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Climate Group, an international non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to promoting the sharing of best practices on emission reductions worldwide. The industry group and the NGO will collaborate on initiatives aimed at mitigating climate change and promoting sustainable development. These will include promoting mitigation activities and their capacity to improve competitiveness; evaluating the potential of the sector to contribute to a low carbon society through biofuels and products with low embodied carbon; engaging the international forest product industry; and engaging in the development of medium and long-term governmental policy frameworks around climate change post-2012.

"The renewable nature of forests, the ability to recover and recycle forest products, and the industry's strong reliance on biomass fuels create many unique opportunities for the forest and paper industry to contribute to greenhouse gas mitigation throughout its value chain," said Dr Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, which was established in 2004 to build a leadership coalition of companies, cities, states and national governments committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

FPAC president and CEO Avrim Lazar noted that "The Canadian forest products industry has a strong track record when it comes to addressing climate change. The pulp and paper sector has already reduced greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions by 28% while increasing production by over 30% for an improvement in emissions intensity of 44%. The industry has already surpassed its Kyoto targets by more than four times and it is committed to going further," he stated. It is also the first industry sector to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the federal government committing it to even further reductions by 2010.

In a presentation at the UN Climate Change Conference, Lazar said, "The forest products industry, more than any other industry in Canada, has a unique perspective on climate change mainly because forests and the products derived from them literally embody carbon. Our perspective is also profoundly shaped by the fact that the future of our industry and the prosperity it generates is almost entirely dependent on the continued well being of our ecosystem. No other industry has been so deeply affected by climate change or has done as much to combat it."

Canada's pulp and paper sector currently meets 57% of its energy demands with biomass, a clean, green, carbon-neutral energy source derived from industrial byproducts such as bark, wood shavings and sawdust. The sector is now the largest industrial source of cogeneration (combined heat and power) capacity in Canada, which is largely powered by carbon-neutral renewable biomass.

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