Nature Canada
loading logs into the truck

Industrial logging was one of Canada’s biggest climate polluters in 2021

New study adds to concern over Fed’s failure to clearly report logging emissions.

Unceded Algonquin Territory — Ottawa, ON — May 4, 2023 — An analysis of Canada’s updated emissions inventory shows that industrial logging was one of the country’s biggest climate polluters in 2021, responsible for more than 10% of Canada’s total planet-heating emissions.

The study, based on data in the recently released National Inventory Report (2005-2021), found that Canada’s logging sector emitted 73 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide in 2021, the equivalent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions of over 22 million gas-powered vehicles.

“Logging is one of Canada’s highest-emitting sectors, right up there with electricity production and oil sands operations,” said Michael Polanyi, Policy and Campaign Manager at Nature Canada. “The federal government’s continued refusal to acknowledge, and act to reduce, this sector’s significant emissions jeopardizes Canada’s climate and nature goals.”

The analysis by Nature Canada and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) comes just two weeks after a federal audit criticized the Trudeau government for failing to transparently report logging emissions in its National Inventory and 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan.

“Ignoring GHG emissions from logging is akin to ignoring all the emissions from the province of Quebec,” said Jennifer Skene, Natural Climate Solutions Policy Manager at NRDC. “Without addressing them, Canada’s climate plan is half-baked, and its forest policy grounded in specious narratives that mask the real cost of the widespread clear-cutting of primary forests.”

Nature Canada and NRDC are urging the federal government to clearly and publicly report the GHG impacts of industrial logging in advance of its fall Emissions Reduction Plan progress report.

Nature Canada is Canada’s voice for nature. For 80 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 110 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of over 130,000 members and supporters and more than 1,000 nature organizations.

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment.

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For more information:

Michael Polanyi

Margie Kelly

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