«Trends and Prospects UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry November 3, 2015 Prepared by: Policy, Economics and Industry Branch Canadian ...»
Canada will continue to take cooperative action with its continental trading partners, particularly the United States, and will work towards further action in integrated sectors of the economy, including energy and transportation.
Climate change is a shared responsibility in Canada. Canadian provinces and territories have jurisdictional authorities over natural resources, energy, and many aspects of the environment.
Each jurisdiction has its own legal framework and determines which policies and measures to put in place to reduce GHG emissions. The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, a federal/provincial/territorial intergovernmental forum, has agreed that climate change will remain a priority agenda item in the foreseeable future. A variety of actions undertaken to date in the largest provinces are discussed below.
Canada expects that the LULUCF sector will provide an important contribution to its broader climate change mitigation efforts. The role of provincial and territorial governments is vital as they own 90% of Canada’s forests, and federal, provincial and territorial governments are currently exploring how best to achieve forest-related mitigation. An analysis of how mitigation actions involving Canada’s managed forests could contribute over the longer term was published in 2014 (http://www.biogeosciences.net/11/3515/2014/bg-11-3515-2014.pdf). Examination of forest-related mitigation potential is on-going, including mitigation related to changes in forest November 2015 management; increased afforestation; increased use of harvested wood for long-lived products as a substitute for products that are more emissions intensive (on a life-cycle basis); and, increased use of harvest residues for bioenergy in place of fossil fuels. With respect to wood use, on-going efforts to promote the use of wood in mid-rise and tall building applications in Canada (see Market Drivers section) are expected to have mitigation benefits.
In June 2012, the Government of Quebec launched its Climate Change Action Plan 2013-2020.
The Plan included the allocation of $2.7 billion for climate change mitigation and adaptation programs to work toward a GHG reduction target of 20% below 1990 levels by 2020. One key element of the Plan is a GHG cap and trade system that began operating in 2013 and linked with California’s trading system in 2014. Other measures under the Plan include the establishment of green building standards and promotion of renewable energy. Quebec’s Programme de biomasse forestière résiduelle finances projects to use residual forest biomass for energy.
The Government of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan was released in 2007 and included a set of short-term (6% below 1990 levels by 2014), medium-term (15% below 1990 levels by 2020), and long-term (80% below 1990 levels by 2050) targets for reducing the province’s GHG emissions. The plan included a 50 Million Tree Program to plant trees on the settled landscape of southern Ontario, which is expected to sequester 6.6 Mt CO2 by 2050 and help restore forest cover on this fragmented landscape. As well, the Ontario Greenbelt Plan has identified about 725 thousand hectares of prime agricultural land and environmentally-sensitive areas for permanent protection from urbanization.
In October 2014, the provincial government released Ontario’s Climate Change Update 2014 (http://www.ontario.ca/document/ontarios-climate-change-update-2014) and announced that the province is expected to achieve its 2014 target. In February 2015 the government initiated a public consultation process and released a Climate Change Discussion paper (http://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/climate-change-consultation). The document sets a vision to establish Ontario as a leader in climate change mitigation and science, and indicates areas for immediate actions such as putting a price on carbon, supporting science, research and technology, and promoting climate resilience and risk management. In April 2015, Ontario announced plans to introduce a cap and trade system to reduce GHG emissions. As part of its participation in the Western Climate Initiative, Ontario has joined with British Columbia, California and Quebec in a process to establish a new GHG reduction target.
In Alberta, the government announced its climate change action plan in 2008 with an objective to reduce GHG emissions by 50 megatonnes from a business-as-usual scenario by 2020 and by 200 megatonnes by 2050. In 2011, Alberta extended and expanded its Bioenergy Producer Credit Program until 2016. The program has been in place since 2006 and provides incentives to develop bioenergy products to support the development of new technologies and facilities the use non-food crops, waste biomass and wood fibre for fuel, power and heat. In 2011, the province implemented a Renewable Fuels Standard to accelerate the use of fuels derived from renewable sources.
Change Advisory Panel to engage Albertans and technical stakeholders on key issues related to climate change. The panel will provide advice to the government in order to inform a new provincial action plan on climate change expected in autumn 2015.
The Government of British Columbia enacted its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act in 2008. Under the Act, B.C.'s GHG emissions are to be reduced by at least 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020 and 80% below 2007 levels by 2050. A key element of the province’s Climate Action Plan is a revenue-neutral carbon tax that puts a price on GHG emissions – the price started at $5/tonne CO2e in 2008 and was increased by $5/year to $30/tonne in 2012 where it has remained. British Columbia’s Energy Plan: A Vision for Clean Energy Leadership (2007), its Clean Energy Act (2010) and other initiatives have been adopted to reduce emissions from the energy sector and foster innovation including through carbon capture and sequestration for coal-fired electricity and a commitment to generate at least 93% of energy from clean or renewable sources The province has developed an initial institutional framework for carbon offsets as part of working toward a carbon neutral public sector. In 2011, the province introduced a forest carbon offset protocol to guide the design, development, quantification and verification of forest carbon offsets generated on private and public lands in the province. Forest carbon mitigation activities that are eligible include afforestation, improved forest management and forest conservation. In May 2013, the British Columbia Forest Carbon Partnership Program (BCFCPP) was launched with the aim of restoring damaged public forests. Under the program, the province leverages private sector investments in forest management to restore damaged public forest land in exchange for carbon offset entitlement. The BCFCPP seeks to stimulate forest ecosystem restoration and forest regeneration, which could see more than one million trees planted by 2018.
In summer 2015, the British Columbia government initiated a public consultation (http://engage.gov.bc.ca/climateleadership) as part of the process to develop a provincial Climate Leadership Plan that aims to prepare the province to achieve its 2020 and 2050 emissions reductions targets. The province intends to release a detailed draft plan in December 2015 for further public input.
Major Forest Pest Disturbances in Canada The Spruce Budworm Infestation in Eastern Canada Spruce Budworm (SBW) is one of the most damaging pests in North America, with most regions of Canada reporting damage by defoliation each year. During periods of major outbreaks, SBW causes disruptions to the forest industry and affects jobs, recreation and tourism, especially for those communities and regions that are heavily forest-sector dependant. The last extensive outbreak of Spruce Budworm in Canada reached its peak in the 1970s, and covered more than 50 million hectares across Quebec, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada, resulting in fibre losses of approximately 500 million m3 of spruce and fir, with a commercial value of approximately $12.5 billion in Quebec alone.
The most recent Spruce Budworm outbreak began in 2006 in Quebec and as of 2014 had already spread to cover more than 4.2 million hectares; with the potential to spread further through Canada’s Atlantic provinces and the eastern United States. Due to the potential negative effects of an outbreak in eastern Canada, the federal government is working with provincial partners, industry, and academia to test and evaluate early intervention strategies aimed at minimizing the extent of the epidemic by targeting high-population Spruce Budworm epicentres.
The Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation in Western Canada
The Mountain Pine Beetle is a native insect that attacks pines in Western North American forests and the infestation has caused widespread timber losses in the province of British Columbia.
Since the current beetle epidemic started in the early 1990s, it has killed more than 50% of British Columbia’s commercial pine volume, largely dense stands of lodgepole pine in the central interior of the province.
The beetle has since spread far beyond its historic range into northern British Columbia and eastward into the boreal forest of north-central Alberta. Scientists are assessing the risk that the beetle may continue to spread eastward across Canada’s boreal forest, potentially impacting Canada’s forest industries and the well-being of forest-dependent communities located throughout Canada’s boreal zone.
Because of the vital role the forest industry plays in Canada’s economy as a whole, and the growing threat the beetle poses to forests throughout Western Canada, the Government of Canada is concerned about the impact of the beetle infestation on forest communities and is working in collaboration with the provinces, territories, stakeholders and communities across Canada to respond to the challenges it poses.
In addition to the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Mexico (1994), Canada has free trade agreements in force with Korea (2015), Honduras (2014), Panama (2013), Jordan (2012), Colombia (2011), Peru (2009), the European Free Trade Association (2009), Costa Rica (2002), Chile (1997) and Israel (1997). Negotiations are currently concluded with the TransPacific Partnership (2015), Ukraine (2015) and the European Union (2014).
Negotiations for free trade agreements are underway with Japan as well as with Morocco, the Caribbean Community, Dominican Republic, India, Singapore, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Negotiations are also underway to modernize the existing free trade agreement with Costa Rica.
Finally, Canada is engaged in exploratory trade discussions with Turkey, Philippines, Thailand and Mercosur.
Phytosanitary Measures Canada is a strong supporter of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and is active in the development of regional and international phytosanitary standards (e.g. wood packaging standard, ISPM No. 15, and draft wood commodities standard). Canada has demonstrated leadership in implementation of wood-related standards through the development of certification systems for wood exports and for wood packaging. The Canadian Heat Treated Wood Products Certification Program (CHTWPCP) is the official certification system for the export of wood products to countries requiring heat treatment prior to entry. The Canadian Wood Packaging Certification Program (CWPCP) certifies that the wood packaging materials for export satisfies the international requirement of ISPM-15.
Canadian experts continue to take an active role in international fora related to phytosanitary measures, including: the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO), the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the International Forest Quarantine Research Organization (IFQRG). Phytosanitary scientific research is conducted nationally and coordinated internationally to ensure that import regulations for internationally traded wood commodities are based on the best available science.
III. Market Drivers
The Canadian forest sector has begun emerging from the global economic downturn of 2008/09.
Recovery in the sector has been driven primarily by growing demand from Asia (particularly by China and South Korea) for wood products. In addition, recovery has also been aided by the strengthening of the U.S. housing market. More recently, over the course of 2013 to present, the weakening of the Canadian dollar also facilitated exports from Canada and supported solid profit margins for Canadian producers.
The ongoing strength of emerging markets has maintained a significant trend of market diversification over the past decade. While in 2004, 79.5% of forest product exports were destined to the U.S., this percentage has dropped to 65.6% in 2014. Demand for wood products in Asia, and China in particular, has grown exponentially over the course of the past decade as a result of rapidly developing economies. Although China’s GDP growth has slowed to 7 percent in the second quarter of 2015 compared to an average of 10% between 2005 and 2014, rates of urbanisation are expected to continue with an estimated 200 million Chinese people moving into urban areas over the next decade. As a result, the value of Canadian wood product exports to China has increased almost 18-fold between 2005 and 2014. Likewise, the demand for Canadian pulp has been strong in China which has seen exports increase by 219% between 2005 and 2014.
Overall, the share of forest products exports destined to China increased from 2.4% in 2005 to 15.6% in 2014. In India, demand for paper and paperboard has also been robust with exports increasing by 27% between 2005 and 2014.
Emerging Opportunities While many traditional markets for Canadian forest products are mature, there are still opportunities for growth by pursuing developing or emerging markets. This also includes increased use of wood in non-residential and mid-rise construction and expanding offshore export opportunities for Canadian wood products in emerging markets. Climate change considerations and a growing recognition of the environmental benefits of wood use are helping to open up opportunities for wood products, including bio-energy and next generation bio-fuels.