With the Canadian forests inhaling a huge amount of greenhouse gases, federal negotiators wanted to allow industrialized countries to use forests in calculations that are linked to the Kyoto protocol’s controlling of greenhouse gas emissions. It was a 7-year-old episode.
But recently, in initial emissions calculations, the Ottawa has decided not to use Canada’s forests.
Stewart Elgie, associate law professor of the University of Ottawa, who is also an environmental economist said,
This decision doesn’t reflect any problems with Canada’s forests; it reflects the fact that Kyoto has dumb rules for counting carbon changes in forests.
Kyoto makes countries count changes that happen largely for natural reasons like fire and insect (infestations) and age-class changes. Kyoto should focus on changes that happen due to management decisions like logging.
During the Kyoto protocol’s crucial first leg, the forests of Canada could be a liability and ‘not an asset’, Eric Richer, a spokesman for Environment Minister John Baird said this, as a respond to a request for comment by e-mail.
It was under the Kyoto Protocol, Canada has committed for emission-reduction to six percent below 1990 levels by 2012. It was in 1998, Canada signed the protocol using 1990 as a baseline. But emissions here have risen
steadily since then. According to a recent CanWest News Service article, the current emission levels of Canada are 26 percent above what the Kyoto targets.
The forecast analysis prepared for the government, which is based on historic and projected incidences of forest fires and insect infestations, future forest growth rates, etc, indicates that over the commitment period of 2008-2012, there is a probability that forests would constitute a net source of greenhouse gas emissions.
We will keep monitoring the situation and re-evaluate the situation on a regular basis.