The Logging Loophole: How the Logging Industry’s Unregulated Carbon Emissions Undermine Canada’s Climate Goals

July 16, 2020

River Jordan for NRDC

The Canadian boreal forest, the most carbon dense forest in the world, is critical to the global carbon cycle, removing climate-harming carbon from the atmosphere and locking it away inside its soils and vegetation. Currently, this forest stores twice as much carbon as exists in the world’s oil reserves. Protecting the Canadian boreal’s carbon stores is a crucial element in our fight against climate change.

Yet, each year, industrial logging erodes the Canadian boreal’s value for the climate, cutting down more than one million acres of the forest to turn it into toilet paper, newsprint, lumber, and biofuels, and releasing that stored carbon.

The Canadian government is in a strong position to lead on nature-based climate solutions. However, there is a dangerous “logging loophole” in Canadian policy that undermines the country’s climate commitments by exempting the logging industry from scrutiny for its toll on the climate-critical boreal forest. This loophole around how Canada accounts for and regulates logging’s carbon impact is allowing the logging industry to unleash the boreal’s carbon stores, putting at risk global efforts to secure a livable planet for future generations. To truly lead, Canada must fully account for and regulate the logging industry’s greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring the boreal forest is protected as one of the world’s greatest climate allies.