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Indicator: Forest industry carbon emissions

Total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel use in the Canadian forest industry have decreased over the last 10 years. Energy use has remained relatively stable in recent years.

  • The forest industry’s ability to generate its own electricity, largely from bioenergy, has reduced its reliance on fossil fuels.
  • The bioenergy share of the total energy use in the industry has been stable, accounting for 54% of energy use in the forest industry in 2016, slightly down from the 56% average observed over the 2005-2015 period.
  • Between 2006 and 2016, the forest industry reduced energy use by 25% and total fossil GHG emissions (direct emissions plus indirect emissions from purchased electricity) by 38%.

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

The forest industry has achieved both reductions in energy use through greater efficiencies and reductions in GHG emissions by reducing energy use and 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, 2006–2016


Graph summary

The total energy use has been steadily decreasing from 2006 through 2012; afterwards it increased slightly until 2015 to decrease again in 2016. The green house gas emissions has been steadily decreasing from 2006 through 2012; afterwards there is a slight increase in 2013 followed by a decrease in 2014 with the emissions stabilizing through 2016.

Graph data
Table below displays (1) the annual total energy use of the forest industry in petajoules and (2) the forest industry’s greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels in millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, for each year between 2006 and 2016.
Year Total energy use (petajoules) GHG emissions (millions of tonnes of CO2 equivalent)
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 684 13.6
2016 655 13.7

Why is this indicator important?

  • Scientists agree that there is a strong link between climate change and activities that emit carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other GHGs, such as burning fossil fuels.
  • 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 implements policies to reduce GHGs.
  • 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

Table of contents — The State of Canada's Forests Report

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