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CPAWS decries BC Government’s exclusive focus on using wood as forest climate strategy

  • Published on Sep 26 2008 |
  • This article is tagged as: bc

VANCOUVER - Several leading environmental groups are criticizing a B.C. Government publication containing misleading information about how forestry contributes to Global Warming. The groups are David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Pembina Institute and B.C. Spaces.

The booklet, entitled, "Tackle Climate Change, Use Wood," promotes the use of wood products and burning trees for energy as effective climate change strategies.

"The government should be promoting forest protection to tackle climate change, not logging," said Chris Henschel with CPAWS.

Logging results in a sixth of Canada\'s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Further, logging in natural forests represents a significant release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that would otherwise be stored for hundreds of years.

"The world\'s expert authority on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has prioritized protection of forests as the most effective and cost efficient thing we can do with our standing forests to fight Global Warming," said Merran Smith, Director of the Climate Program at ForestEthics. "This promotional booklet is saying the opposite, and is far too simplistic for a complex issue like forests - BC needs to promote a forest conservation strategy along with a program of wood products to ensure longevity and recycling, not disposability."

"Logging natural forests is becoming an increasingly irresponsible act for the climate," says Mike Kennedy, Senior Resource Economist of the Pembina Institute.

Also troubling and simplistic is the booklet\'s claim that \'bioenergy has no net greenhouse gas emissions.\' Wood is a low quality fuel that results in significant carbon dioxide emissions. Proponents say that burning wood does not cause pollution because trees grow back and remove all the carbon that was originally released.

"The problem is that it can take more than a hundred years for a natural forest to take the carbon back from the atmosphere, if it ever does," said Dave Neads with B.C. Spaces. "In the meantime, switching to woody bioenergy could actually increase emissions in the short-term when emission reductions are most urgently needed."

Kennedy concluded, "Forests and the forest industry do have a key role to play in BC\'s climate change strategy; we feel it is critical to have an open discussion about the responsible ways of developing a forest-based climate change policy."

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For further information:

Chris Henschel
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
(613) 569-7226

Mike Kennedy
Pembina Institute
(780) 862-8667

Merran Smith
ForestEthics
(604) 816-5636