Board Converting News, August 30, 2021

Paper, Climate Change (CONT’D FROM PAGE 14)

CO2 into the atmosphere from sources like the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation (the permanent loss of trees). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) re- ports that sustainable forest management practices result- ed in net carbon sequestration each year between 1990 and 2018. As reported in the agency’s Inventory of Green- house Gas (GHG) Emissions and Sinks, U.S. forests and wood products captured and stored roughly 12 percent of all carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions in 2018. CO2e is a measure of the global warming potential of all GHGs compared to CO2. The Canadian government re- ports that forestlands captured and stored around 19 per- cent of the country’s total CO2e emissions in 2018. Planting new trees and improving forest health through thinning and prescribed burning are some of the ways to increase the uptake of forest carbon in the long run. Ac-

cording to the U.S. Forest Service, the perpetual cycle of harvesting and regenerating forests can also result in net carbon sequestration in products made from wood and in new forest growth. In its 2020 Global Forest Resources

Assessment, the U.N Food and Agriculture Organization reported that net forest area in the U.S. increased by approximately 18 mil- lion acres between 1990 and 2020, while net forest area in Canada remained stable at around 857 million acres during those same years. Paper And Greenhouse Gas Emissions The North American paper and pa- per-based packaging industry was among the first industries to take voluntary action to reduce GHG emissions. Between 2011 and 2019, the U.S. industry reduced greenhouse gas emissions from 44.2 million metric tons to 35.2 million metric tons or 20 percent, according to the US EPA. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) reports that between 2007 and 2017 the Canadian industry reduced GHG emissions from 22 million metric tons to 13.1 million metric tons or 40 percent. These reductions are attributed to the predominant use of carbon-neutral, wood- based biofuel (which accounts on average for around 60 percent of energy generation at North American mills), the switch from coal and oil to less carbon intensive fuels such as natural gas, and investment in equipment and process enhancements that improved overall energy efficiency. Contrary to the claim that the North America paper and pa- per-based packaging industry is a major con- tributor to GHG emissions, EPA and NRCan data show that U.S. and Canadian producers account for only 0.5 percent of total GHGs in their respective countries. A continuing in- crease in the use of biomass energy at North American mills has the potential to reduce GHG emissions even further.


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August 30, 2021

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