Canada’s foresters see the impacts of a changing climate in our forests every day. Forests are dynamic, ever-changing landscapes that are experiencing more frequent and concerning drought conditions, pest outbreaks, and more catastrophic fire patterns. These natural disturbances pose a serious risk to the health of forests and forest ecosystems, forestry jobs, and the vibrancy of 600+ forestry communities across Canada. Left unchecked, these threats will challenge our ability to remain self-sufficient, and to provide Canadians with locally grown and sustainably-sourced wood products.
We believe every political party should have a robust climate plan and we appreciate the thoughtful steps taken by the Conservative Party of Canada this week to establish climate targets in order to help us achieve Canada’s 2030 Paris Accord commitments. FPAC specifically applauds plans to:
- Invest in forest health and wildfire prevention;
- Protect trade exposed Canadian industries competing in a tough global marketplace;
- Harmonize, where possible, with provincial laws and rules related to climate, carbon, and sustainable development;
- Recognize that sustainable forest management supports effective conservation and is a powerful nature-based climate solution; and,
- Advance clean and green building standards.
- Canada’s forest sector has been an early mover in embracing strong climate action and carbon policies. We were one of the only industries in Canada that saw value and benefit in the Kyoto Protocol. We were also one of the first sectors in the country to commit to doing our part to achieve Paris Agreement targets. Today, we are working with members to develop plans to help Canada achieve net-zero carbon by 2050.
With the move this week by Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole and his team to commit to climate targets and climate policy we can now move to a more robust discussion in Canada about the best way to achieve these targets – a way that plays to Canadian advantages, leaves no community or family behind, and creates social and economic opportunity for tomorrow. Canadian forestry can deliver climate solutions across its value chain and is one of the few Canadian industries in a position to go beyond net-zero. We can do this by:
- Sequestering carbon and reducing land-based emissions through climate smart forestry and by continuing our important work in renewing and sustainably managing Canada’s forests, keeping them as forests forever;
- Locking carbon into long-lived wood products and expanding innovative wood building construction in communities and through government procurement;
- Moving more of our transportation capacity from truck to rail to lower carbon emissions along our supply chain;
- Building on our successful track record of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at our mills. Carbon emissions at Canadian forest product mills have been reduced by nearly 70% since the early 1990s and we can do more; and,
- Using what would otherwise be wood waste to further green our operations and providing lower-carbon materials and biofuels to help communities and other industries decarbonize.
Canadian forestry has some unique challenges that require the support of Conservatives and all major federal parties. Over 90% of the lands that FPAC members operate on are under the purview of provincial governments. In the climate and carbon policy space, we are finding ourselves in the middle of increasing federal/provincial misalignment and regulatory duplication that is creating confusion, increasing costs, and impacting Canadian forestry’s competitiveness. Federal/provincial collaboration and harmonization, where possible, is critical to our ability to operate with certainty and secure future investment in Canada.
We are also a predominantly rural sector with operations in hundreds of more northern and remote communities. The mills and woodlands operations located in these communities are committed to climate action and continuous improvement but are often challenged by geographical limitations in terms of access to cleaner fuels and new technologies. It is critical that these communities and the working families that live there are supported in our carbon transition and are not left behind.
FPAC and Canada’s forest sector with Indigenous community and business partners, labour partners, and forestry community leaders look forward to working with all federal parties to secure the social, environmental, and economic potential of our sector and its people.