Nature Canada

Logging Emissions Are Massively Underreported in Government’s New Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Say Environmentalists


Unceded Algonquin Territory – Ottawa, ON, April 14, 2022  

The Canadian Government is underreporting annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the forestry sector by over 80 megatonnes in its new 2022 National Inventory Report, say leading environment groups.

Canada’s 2022 National Inventory Report, submitted today to the United Nations climate secretariat (UNFCCC), reports GHG emissions for the year 2020. 

“Environmentalists, scientists and Canadians have urged the federal government to more accurately report the climate impacts of logging,” said Michael Polanyi of Nature Canada. “But the government continues to use a biased accounting approach that portrays net emissions from large-scale logging of carbon-rich forests as negative when they are actually as large as those of Canada’s oil sands operations.”

Despite the logging of about 750,000 hectares of forests annually, Canada reported net human-caused GHG emissions in 2020 from forest land and the wood extracted from it to be less than zero (minus 6.5 megatonnes). 

Last year four national and international environmental groups released a study showing that biases and omissions in Canada’s accounting of forest sector carbon are leading to an under-reporting of net logging sector GHG emissions by more than 80 megatonnes each year. Today’s National Inventory Report shows that this distortion continues.

In a positive shift from previous years, the report indicates that “significant improvements to NIR [National Inventory Report] estimates are anticipated in future editions of this report, notably related to emissions and removals from managed forest land.” 

In March nearly 100 scientists from North America and Europe urged Canada to improve the accuracy of its forest carbon accounting methods, and an Ekos poll in the same month found that three in four Canadians want the federal government to step up action to reduce logging emissions.

“Canada’s flawed forest carbon accounting methods undermine its commitment to leadership on natural climate solutions,” said Jennifer Skene of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “In the wake of devastating new UN revelations about climate impacts, Canada needs to be directly addressing industrial logging’s impact, not shunting its emissions off the ledger books.”

The new National Inventory Report shows that Canada’s overall emissions fell about 9% from 2019 to 2020 as many economic sectors were significantly affected by the COVID pandemic. 

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For more information contact:

Michael Polanyi
Nature Canada
(343) 553-6060

Margie Kelly 
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

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