Environmentalists decry BC Government's exclusive focus on "using wood" as forest climate strategy



    VANCOUVER, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - Several leading environmental groups are
criticizing a B.C. Government publication containing misleading information
about how forestry contributes to Global Warming. The groups are David Suzuki
Foundation, ForestEthics, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS),
Pembina Institute and B.C. Spaces.
    The booklet, entitled, "Tackle Climate Change, Use Wood," promotes the
use of wood products and burning trees for energy as effective climate change
strategies.
    "The government should be promoting forest protection to tackle climate
change, not logging," said Chris Henschel with CPAWS.
    Logging results in a sixth of Canada's annual greenhouse gas emissions.
Further, logging in natural forests represents a significant release of carbon
dioxide into the atmosphere that would otherwise be stored for hundreds of
years.
    "The world's expert authority on climate change, the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has prioritized protection of forests as the
most effective and cost efficient thing we can do with our standing forests to
fight Global Warming," said Merran Smith, Director of the Climate Program at
ForestEthics. "This promotional booklet is saying the opposite, and is far too
simplistic for a complex issue like forests - BC needs to promote a forest
conservation strategy along with a program of wood products to ensure
longevity and recycling, not disposability."
    "Logging natural forests is becoming an increasingly irresponsible act
for the climate," says Mike Kennedy, Senior Resource Economist of the Pembina
Institute.
    Also troubling and simplistic is the booklet's claim that 'bioenergy has
no net greenhouse gas emissions.' Wood is a low quality fuel that results in
significant carbon dioxide emissions. Proponents say that burning wood does
not cause pollution because trees grow back and remove all the carbon that was
originally released.
    "The problem is that it can take more than a hundred years for a natural
forest to take the carbon back from the atmosphere, if it ever does," said
Dave Neads with B.C. Spaces. "In the meantime, switching to woody bioenergy
could actually increase emissions in the short-term when emission reductions
are most urgently needed."
    Kennedy concluded, "Forests and the forest industry do have a key role to
play in BC's climate change strategy; we feel it is critical to have an open
discussion about the responsible ways of developing a forest-based climate
change policy."





For further information:

For further information: Chris Henschel, Canadian Parks and Wilderness
Society, (613) 569-7226; Mike Kennedy, Pembina Institute, (780) 862-8667;
Merran Smith, ForestEthics, (604) 816-5636

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