Forest Products Industry to Reduce Greenhouse Gases 12%
The association “applauds the President’s initiative to address climate change through enhanced research in technology and science, incentives and voluntary efforts,” said AF&PA president and CEO W. Henson Moore in a letter to the Administration committing his group to the plan. The plan recognizes that “only a strong economy will allow us to make the investments we need” to reduce our emissions, Moore wrote.
AF&PA members have under way a number of programs to try to meet the president’s climate objectives, and have collectively pledged to pursue them. Among them are inventorying and reporting on greenhouse gases, enhancing sequestration in managed forests and products, improving technologies and energy efficiency, using co-generation, and increasing use of renewable energy and recycling.
“Based on preliminary calculations, we expect that these programs will reduce our greenhouse gas intensity by 12% by 2012 relative to 2000,” Moore said in the letter. He also promised to refine AF&PA’s estimates in a year, and in two years to evaluate members’ progress and determine if additional reductions or changes to their greenhouse gas programs are appropriate.
The industry has already taken significant steps to reduce its greenhouse emissions, Moore said. It will continue to derive more than half of its energy needs from renewable energy, or biofuels, Moore told the Administration. The industry leads all other manufacturing sectors in onsite electricity generation, meeting more than half of its own energy needs through highly-efficient co-generation processes, he said.
The letter described several industry programs that AF&PA will use to achieve its goals. A critical program is sequestration -- storage -- of carbon in forestlands and manufactured products. More than 114 million acres of forests are enrolled in AF&PA’s Sustainable Forestry Initiative program, the world’s largest sustainable forestry program. Under the SFI program, forests are managed under rigorous standards for protecting soil and water resources, contributing to biological diversity, conserving unique features and aesthetic values, and enhancing forest productivity. Additionally, the industry produces products that store carbon for decades or longer.
Research and development is also part of AF&PA’s solution. One technology under development would allow for increased burning of renewable biofuels with lower emissions and greater efficiency. Another project, in partnership with the Department of Energy, is biomass gasification. This technique potentially could make the U.S. forest products industry totally energy self-sufficient and a generator of net surplus power, according to Moore.
Another program is recycling, which avoids greenhouse gas emissions from products prematurely disposed of in landfills. The industry has achieved 48% recovery rates for all paper products, and has a current goal of 50%.
Moore cautioned that his industry’s success will depend partially on the administration’s efforts to “manage the activities of all government agencies, especially the promulgation of regulatory requirements” that may cause increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
“We strongly encourage the Administration to address regulatory requirements where the negative climate impacts outweigh any environmental benefit,” he said.
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