Federal Government rejects call to review emissions from Canada’s logging sector
In a letter to environmental groups, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada Steven Guilbeault rejected calls for an independent expert review of Canada’s approach to measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions from the logging sector.
The decision was communicated in response to a petition submitted by Nature Canada and Nature Québec through the Office of the Auditor General.
“Minister Guilbeault has been clear in the past that the accurate measurement of emissions in all sectors is fundamental to effective action on climate change,” said Graham Saul, Executive Director of Nature Canada. “We are therefore disappointed that the government is not seizing this opportunity to address widespread concerns about the massive underreporting of emissions from the logging sector.”
Last fall environmental groups released a joint study showing that the federal government is understating net GHG emissions associated with logging by more than 80 million tonnes, the equivalent of not reporting emissions from Canada’s oil sands operations. The report found that the understatement stems from flawed and biased accounting practices that fail to follow Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change guidelines.
In March of this year nearly 100 scientists also urged the federal government to “undertake a comprehensive review of its forest carbon accounting and quantification practices.”
The response to the petition, issued jointly by the Departments of Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada, states that the federal government already “collaborates with independent experts” and that “no amendments will be made” to Canada’s forest carbon accounting practices before it submits its Fifth Biennial Report on Climate Change to the United Nations at the end of this year.
“It is deeply concerning that Canada is choosing not to address significant concerns about the accuracy of its forest sector emissions estimates before submitting a major report to the UN,” said Alice-Anne Simard, Executive Director of Nature Québec. “Until Canada fully accounts for the climate impacts caused by logging carbon-rich primary forests, it will continue to give the logging industry a free pass, and fail to put in place the policies and incentives needed to meet its climate and nature protection goals.”
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