Canada’s forestry industry is doing its part to cut greenhouse emissions, said Avrom Lazar, President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada, in a panel discussion at the “Business of Climate Change” in Toronto on September 29.
As part of a panel discussion, Lazar said that wood scrap, sawdust and other byproducts are being used to generate heat, some of which is used to produce electrical power. This means that rather than decaying and producing methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas, the biofuel can help switch some power generation away from fossil fuels.
What’s missing in this picture, Lazar said, is a systemic policy that promotes this type of activity. Such activities are largely driven by government policy, which is hard to anticipate.
“Each time we invest, the rules change,” said Lazar.
Integration is needed on a larger level as well, he said, describing how Indonesian forests are cut and the wood shipped to the Netherlands — where it’s burned for energy, with the users able to gain greenhouse gas credits for doing so, not considering the total environmental cost of forest removal and shipping the wood.
Lazar said that in many cases the science has not yet been done on the environmental, social and economic cost of using a given weight of dry fibre in various ways.
While much of recent government policy has been around economic stimulus, he continued, almost any steps taken to stimulate the economy will increase greenhouse gas emissions.
In an interview after the panel discussion, Lazar said that while forestry company operations may be located far from main power grid corridors, they’re capable of supplying some of the electrical load consumed by nearby towns. What’s needed is government policy supporting better access to capital to allow this to happen, and also for public electrical utilities to be more accepting of this type of power source.
– Written by Carl Friesen.
(See article, page 16)