Over the last few weeks a new publicity campaign by the
Coalition Bois Québec has been promoting the environmental
benefits of the use of wood in construction, specifically for its
contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gases in the
Essentially, using wood in construction is a way of sequestering
carbon which would otherwise have released carbon into the
atmosphere when the wood is burned. Moreover, the greenhouse gases
that are released in the production of steel or concrete will not,
theoretically at least, be created.
However, issuing carbon credits for this type of sequestering is
controversial because some are worried that it creates an incentive
Generally speaking, the preferred approach from an ecological
perspective is to issue carbon credits for reducing emissions from
deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). However, to date,
these types of credits are not recognized by either the European
Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) or under the Kyoto protocol.
Some groups, including participants at a recent conference in
Brussels made up of European scientists and forestry industry
representatives, have called for the recognition of Long Lived Wood
Products credits at the meetings that will take place in Copenhagen
in December. For more information, click here.
Currently, the voluntary Chicago climate exchange issues credits
for Long Lived Wood Products but only if certain conditions are
met. For more information, click here. In particular, the protocol requires
that the wood used in the issuance of these credits originates from
forests that are managed according to recognised certification
In Canada, the Federal Government released "Canada's
Offset System for Greenhouse Gases" in June of this year. The
system will register and certify specific projects that are aimed
at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In general, this system
favours the reduction of carbon in sectors that are not regulated
by the planned Federal industrial greenhouse gas emissions
regulation. What remains to be seen is whether forestry companies
will be subject to these regulations or whether a project that
involves the construction of a building with wood will meet the
criteria for the offset system.
The guidelines for the Canadian system are in development and a
final version is expected later in the fall of 2009. The potential
outcome of the Copenhagen meetings with respect to offsets for long
lived wood products will be clearer by the end of the year.
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
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