Canada's forest industry had pledged to go carbon neutral by 2015 by reforming forestry, paper making and other processes that now contribute dramatically to the greenhouse gas pollution warming the planet. It won't purchase carbon offsets, either, so it aims to reform its practices in a way that prevents the release of carbon or re-captures as much as was released, according to the Toronto Star. It will address even the amount of paper that ends up in landfills (it's been estimated that 25% of U.S. landfills is paper waste), since paper decomposing releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
The move has potentially huge significance.
Canada exported about 25% of the world's wood products, by value in 2004, and the United States was a major importer of Canadian wood products. Canada is the world's second largest producer of paper and pulp products, next to the United States, and Canada is the world's largest exporter of paper and pulp products -- with the United States being a top importer of Canadian products.
U.S. newspapers and magazines are often made with products originating in Canada, and efforts by companies to reduce the lifecycle impact of their products is dependent on having companies logging forests and making paper in environmentally sound ways. In the United States, paper-making is the fourth-largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions among U.S. manufacturing industries.
Additionally, Canada's forestry industry operates in the world's largest forest. Larger than the Amazon, the boreal forest is a ring of virtually untouched greenery around the northern latitudes of Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia and Russias Siberia. It is the largest eco-region in the world, critical for carbon sequestration, migratory bird habitat and the health of significant biodiversity.
Forests store 50% of the worlds terrestrial carbon, and half the worlds forests have already been cleared or burned, and 80% of whats left has been seriously degraded, according to a recent report.
For related stories, facts and dozens of tips for reducing your own paper use, see: 15 Facts About the Paper Industry, Global Warming and the Environment
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