Indicator: Forest industry carbon emissions

Total greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents, or CO2e) from fossil fuel use in the Canadian forest industry have steadily decreased over the last 10 years, while energy use has remained relatively flat in recent years.

  • The forest industry’s ability to generate its own electricity, largely from bioenergy, has reduced its reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Bioenergy continues to increase its share of the energy mix, accounting for 57% of forest industry energy use in 2015, up from 49% in 2000 and 43% in 1990.
  • Between 2005 and 2015, the forest industry reduced energy use by 31% and total GHG emissions (direct emissions plus indirect emissions from purchased electricity) by 49%.

Canada measures its national emission levels annually for all sectors and assesses its emissions against targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions.

The forest industry has achieved both reductions in energy use through greater efficiencies and reductions in GHG emissions by changing the fuel mix. Decreased production and the decline of the pulp and paper industry have also contributed to the trend.

Fossil fuel greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and total energy use in Canada's forest industry, 2005–2015


Graph data
Table displays (1) the total energy use of the forest industry in petajoules for each year between 2005 and 2015 and (2) the forest industry’s greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels in millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent for each year between 2005 and 2015.
Year Total energy use (petajoules) GHG emissions (millions of tonnes of CO2 equivalent)
2005 958 25.0
2006 877 22.3
2007 850 22.0
2008 752 18.8
2009 695 16.2
2010 676 15.6
2011 637 14.3
2012 621 13.5
2013 656 14.2
2014 674 13.5
2015 658 12.8

Why is this indicator important?

  • Scientists agree that there is a strong link between climate change and activities that burn fossil fuels and emit carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other GHGs.
  • By monitoring the forest industry’s GHG emissions, we can assess the improvement of its emissions record over time.

What is the outlook?

  • Technologies that reduce energy use and GHG emissions provide significant environmental benefits and reduce energy costs for manufacturers. Investments in these technologies are expected to continue and accelerate as Canada fully implements carbon pricing and a Clean Fuel Standard.
  • Since overall reductions in GHG emissions will likely be tempered by increases in economic activity, GHG emissions and total energy use will likely continue to decline but at a slower rate.

What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?

Sources and information