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QUESTION PERIOD — Environment and Climate Change

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

December 14, 2021

Honourable senators, my question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Senator Gold, a recent report by Nature Canada and three other environmental organizations identify shortcomings in Canada’s approach to measuring and reporting carbon dioxide emissions from the forest sector. The report showed that Canada’s accounting approach fails to include more than 80 million tonnes of CO2 emissions associated with logging each year in its emissions totals. That’s the equivalent of failing to report all the emissions from the heating of every building in Canada.

This understatement of the climate impact of logging is putting the achievement of Canada’s climate targets, as well as the protection of Canada’s forests, at risk. Will the government agree to appoint an independent expert group to review Canada’s approach to forest carbon accounting and issue recommendations for greater accuracy?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]

Senator, thank you for your question, and I thank you for your leadership on this topic. The report from Nature Canada to which you refer is welcomed by this government. The government has seen enhanced research of greenhouse gas emissions and welcomes that research. I’m advised that the government will be taking the report of Nature Canada into consideration. The government remains committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to look into emission leaks and gaps in order to continuously improve its work.

Canada’s failure to accurately report the true climate impact from its logging sector is perpetuating a myth that logging in Canada produces minimal CO2 emissions when in reality industrial logging emits more carbon than the entire agricultural sector. Will the government review its forest carbon accounting practices in order to put in place more effective practices in advance of its fifth biannual report on climate change to the United Nations in 2022?

Senator Gold [ + ]

Thank you, senator, for your question. As I mentioned, the government is committed to improving its work to reduce greenhouse emissions, which includes exploring where there may be possible leaks in data and the like. The government is further committed to continuously improving its practices and will ensure quality reporting to international organizations, such as the ones you mentioned.

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