Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for this opportunity to talk to you today.
Mr. Chairman and committee members, our presentation is along the lines of Biological Carbon Canada's perspective on the questions before the committee. We would like to concentrate on adaptation and emission reduction strategies.
Biological Carbon Canada is an Alberta-based, multi-sector, non-profit society working to deliver real carbon reductions from Canadian forests, farms and ranches. We seek to be the conduit and facilitator in connecting business and research. Alberta has the innovation and the skill to scale what we know can be done across all of Canada.
Our members have been working to reduce greenhouse gases since the Government of Alberta created the first North American compliance carbon price regulation and offset in 2007. Alberta farms and businesses are leading Canada in reducing carbon emissions. Since Alberta's offset system was implemented in 2007, we have created, serialized and sold 14.7 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents, with half of this through our members.
Why are we here? Simply, Ottawa, we have a problem. Canada, we have a problem. We, as Biological Carbon Canada, along with our members here today, have a solution.
Canada has agreements to drop emissions by the year 2030. Canada needs to remove 89 million tonnes from large final emitters, and through provincial measures. Canada also needs to remove another 86 million tonnes from coal-use elimination, clean-fuel use and energy use in light industry. The last 44 million tonnes that you wish to remove, and that we need to remove, is targeted to come from technology improvements and carbon sinks.
Biological systems in Canada and carbon markets are part of this solution. We're here to help.
We believe that with biological offsets, a Canadian carbon market and new expanded protocols, the biological and unregulated business sector in Canada can deliver between 42 million and 45 million of those tonnes by 2030. Because of the soils, 37 million tonnes will actually come from western Canada.
We believe that if the reductions from biological systems are achieved, the economic stimulus is estimated to be $33 billion in new GDP and 308,000 new jobs.
Our members reiterate that we can adapt. We're going to elaborate a bit more in the area of the carbon sequestration potential for 2030.
We know that we can capture 29 million tonnes with advanced protocols covering smart cropping production. We know that we can capture 1.5 million tonnes with advanced protocols covering smart livestock production, and that we can capture 15 million tonnes with advanced protocols covering smart land and sinks—but I digress.
First and foremost, I'm a fourth-generation food and fibre production engineer from eastern Saskatchewan. My family has been farming since 1904, and I want to describe to you a little bit of what you see in regard to production systems across western Canada and the prairies.
We are using precision-guided equipment with GPS satellite technology to ensure that we have less than an inch of overlap. It's down to an inch of precision. You hear about autonomous vehicles and cars. We've been living in that environment for the last 10 to 15 years. All of our equipment is precision-guided.
What does that allow us to do? It allows us to eliminate that overlap and that duplicity of applying nitrogen twice. Not only does the GPS-guided equipment we're using eliminate overlap, but our machines—our air seeders and our planters—now have the ability to shut off individual sections at the five-foot level, so that you're not.... When you come into a wedge-shaped triangle, or you're going around trees, we have what's called sectional control technology. We can get that down to the single opener that lifts out of the ground to reduce the draft requirements on the tractors, resulting in more emission savings.
When the boot or that seeding tool is in the ground, that fertilizer is being placed so precisely, an inch below and to the side of the seam, that the pearl of fertilizer is being used to its maximum efficiency. Couple that with the soil sampling we're doing.... You look at how we look at fertility requirements, much like you would do in livestock operations. For specific plants, we're able to match that fertility right to the plant's needs.
We're going to get into this more, with regard to how, with precision cropping, we can change rates on the fly, using software with prescription mapping. This is commonplace. It isn't adapted all across, but this is what we're referring to when we talk about smart cropping systems.
To fully capture the 29 million tonnes that Canadian agriculture needs to capture, we need funding to develop and refine the evolving science, and carbon markets. To accomplish this, we will also need to update the direct seeding, or conservation cropping protocol, to cover all of the soil zones across all of Canada. The robust nutrient stewardship protocol also needs to have some expansion done. This is called the NERP, the nitrous oxide emission reduction protocol, or the 4R nutrient stewardship system.
We will also need the people and the science to integrate this new science into these protocols, and increase satellite imaging technology to assist in verification of measurements. We're also going to need to invest in the people, the science and adapting this new science.
With that, I'm going to share the remainder of my time with my colleague, Don.
I'm Don McCabe and I'm a farmer from Ontario.
The reality is, as Nevin has pointed out, Canada has a problem and there are solutions on that landscape. That landscape can be used to a maximum efficiency, but it's also animal production. I know that cattle, in terms of greenhouse gases, have been nailed for being terrible and we shouldn't be eating beef and all the rest of it, but I'm here to offer a different story.
We feel there is 1.5 million tonnes that can be brought to marketplace if it existed to address that. The reality with those ruminants is that their first stomach does enteric fermentation. They are able to take cellulosic material, as in grass. They have four-wheel drive and they can go up the sides of hills that I can't go up with a tractor and bring that cellulose back. By the time it's back it's been turned into protein and milk that I want to use. We can reduce that enteric fermentation with technology that's now emerging in the marketplace.
At the same time, there is some stuff that comes out the back. The bottom line is it's sometimes labelled as waste. I'm here to tell you agriculture doesn't have waste. We only have underutilized, underpriced opportunity, because waste usually means it's useless. Those are nutrients and an energy source which again, we can harness to go to the future.
In the process of moving through all these different processes that Nevin has touched on and I've highlighted on the livestock side, we need to extend further into the issues of the yield of our crops, which are expanding rapidly. I will give you Ontario stats, because they are what I'm most familiar with, but they are also a symptom within the country.
Between 2011 and 2016, we were losing in Ontario 350 acres a day, according to the census—and before that there were higher rates of land loss—due to urbanization. If it had not been for the yield increases that we are now seeing, whether it's canola or corn, wheat or soybeans, or all the plethora of crops, we would not be able to do what we do in Canada.
With those yield increases, it has brought us more residue. From the issue that we've harvested, first, the crop, now we have the leftovers, and there's too much residue there. That means it's a problem for the farmer. Society doesn't know and doesn't care. It's our problem to solve and we wish to offer you a solution.
That solution will be using those residues in the forms of bioproducts. We can cascade down through from composites, to chemicals, to fuels, to methane, and finally, if we make an electron, we've blown the energy system and we've got to return to it all.
You, with the power that you have, can give us an opportunity to get a framework and bring a greater 30% contribution to our intended nationally determined contribution that will be discussed in Poland next week.
Canada is embarrassing itself by not harnessing biological systems that we have in place. We're here to offer you this opportunity with a bit of ingenuity.
Thank you for your time.
Hello, my name is Carolyn Butts. I'm here with my partner Hans Honegger.
Thank you for inviting us to join you at this table to tell you about our experience in exposing value in waste materials. I believe that this is how we will change our minds about garbage.
I'm an artist with a business degree, and I would like to show you how we apply art and design to turn waste into profit. It is in this pursuit that we have been a witness to the cycle of consumption and the industries that mitigate and support it.
In 1990, a massive tire fire at Hagersville, Ontario woke me up to our waste crisis. Some of you may remember the footage of black smoke drifting for kilometres over a mountain of burning tires for 17 days. It was my call to action and my immediate response was to take my own used car tires and turn them into art. This tragic event ignited my imperative to search for value in discarded materials.
In 2005, restoration architect Hans Honegger and I joined creative forces together in rural Ontario, located between Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. Together we own and operate Bon Eco Design, a small but growing business in Tamworth, north of Napanee. In Tamworth, we found an affordable historic building stock to restore and renovate at a pace that we could keep. The vacated Tamworth hardware store became our home and workshop.
We named our business Bon Eco Design, an ecological twist on the famous Bon Echo Park close by. With this reference, we understood we were setting a standard to consider our iconic Canadian wilderness when making business decisions. To this end, our design business makes material matter.
We have dedicated the past 13 years to researching, sourcing, educating ourselves, and transforming waste into valuable art and design products while changing perceptions on the concept of waste. Here are a few examples of our work.
This is a tire art piece commissioned by Eastman Chemical Company in Tennessee.
An hon. member: [Inaudible—Editor]
Pool filters, which are normally sent to landfill, become an indestructible animal enrichment device for a captive primate study. We have a few.
Last year, I searched for one or two refugee women to help fabricate one of my products and in the process, helped them settle into Canada and earn an income. This initiative turned into a social enterprise of eight women. We are currently applying for our articles of incorporation for a working co-operative. The Begin Again Group represents new beginnings for the women and the material. I have a rubber bag sample here you can take a look at later.
Bon Eco Design is expanding to include other restored historic buildings in Tamworth into a complex of spaces for collaborative design work and accommodation for others interested in joining our pursuit of discovering creative solutions for our waste problem. In 2012, I was encouraged to join a local concerned citizens committee to help increase the resistance against a proposed mega landfill. The site was located next to a closed, yet leaking, landfill in Greater Napanee near the 401, which is upstream from the Mohawk territory. The relentless researching by the committee exposed inadequate monitoring of the closed site and negligence by the waste company to determine the extent and the threat of the contamination. On top of this, I discovered the practice of collecting and depositing of landfill fluid, called leachate, through municipal water filtration plants. Thousands of chemicals and heavy metals make their way into our waterways and onto our fields as septic sludge fertilizer.
Being a witness to the garbage industry enlightened me to the extremely lucrative business and questionable practices of landfilling. Waste disposal is essentially a trucking operation. I have been privileged to the tactics of waste hauling companies to bribe, wait out and wear down small communities, but communities are fighting back. These companies are finding themselves up against intelligent and tenacious citizens, proving that their practices contaminate air, land and water, thereby destroying their economy and living conditions for many centuries.
In summary, the decades following the Hagersville tire fire saw the introduction of provincial regulations. As a result, most tires are now collected with a payment incentive, recycled into landscaping products, roads, flooring or sold abroad. I've been a witness to this cleanup effort since 2005. I don't believe our tire disposal issues are solved completely, but progress has been made.
Since 2005, I have visited local manufacturers in the region looking for waste materials, hoping to intercept them before going to landfill. To my relief, I found some examples of corporate stewardship with incentives in place to achieve zero waste, in order to be awarded with a high industry standard. However, there are many small, medium and large enterprises filling dumpsters of valuable waste and locking them up. I received some landfill insider information of a shipment of brand new children's snowsuits that didn't sell that season and another attempt to deposit several train cars' worth of boxes of cereal with too many raisins, which was a production error.
Landfilling and burning are unsustainable solutions to our waste. Both are loaded with carbon emissions. Starting with the extraction of non-renewable—
Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. Copies of my remarks have been made available to the clerk if you need them after.
My name is Robert Larocque and I am here today with my colleagues Kate Lindsay, our vice president of sustainability and environmental partnership, and Étienne Bélanger, director of forestry. We are very pleased to be here to represent the Forest Products Association of Canada as part of your study on the implementation of the pan-Canadian framework, relative to increasing carbon stores and reducing GHG emissions, and to the role of the forest sector.
The Forest Products Association of Canada is the voice of Canada's wood, pulp and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs, as well as the topic we will be discussing today, namely the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change and our sector.
Let me give you a quick snapshot of how important the forest products sector is to Canada's economy. It is a $69 billion a year industry that represents 2% of Canada's GDP. The industry is one of Canada's largest employers, operating in 600 forest-dependent communities from coast to coast. We directly employ 230,000 Canadians across the country.
The sector is also important when it comes to the Canadian environment. As custodians of almost 10% of the world's forests, we take our responsibilities as environmental stewards very seriously. There is no better testimony to the seriousness of our commitment than to have the most independently certified forests in the world, 170 million hectares or about 40% of all the certified forest. Forest certification is a third party verification of voluntary measures that go above and beyond current regulations. In fact, repeated surveys of international customers have shown that the Canadian forest products industry has one of the best environmental reputations in the world.
Climate change is emerging as the signature issue of our time. Forest product companies have stayed ahead of the curve by aggressively reducing our carbon footprint and running more efficient facilities. In fact, pulp and paper mills have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an impressive 66% since 1990, the equivalent of nine megatons or a million tonnes of CO2 per year. The sector does not use coal anymore and we barely use any oil, less than 1% of all the energy we need. We now have more than 30 facilities that generate green electricity, which is enough to power the city of Vancouver, from biomass residue at the mill sites.
Following Canada's commitment under the Paris Agreement, the forest products industry pledged in May 2016 to remove 30 megatons a year of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. That's about 13% of the government's emissions reduction target. We call this initiative the “30 by 30” climate change challenge. We are very proud to be part of the solution and there is no question that the Canadian forest products industry is an environmental leader.
The effects of climate change will have an impact on our sector, whether it is negative consequences, such as forest fires or insect infestations, or positive effects, such as speeding up the transformation of the sector to produce biofuels, biomaterials and tall wood buildings.
Today, I would like to focus my comments on the management of our forests, the potential innovation of using new products and the positive and negative impacts related to our mills.
Canada's forests are truly an astonishing resource. They represent 348 million hectares of our forest land. The forest absorbs a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide, and by doing so, helps regulate the world's climate system. In 2016 forest lands managed for timber production were a sink in Canada of 20 million tonnes of carbon, or 20 megatons. That's according to the “The State of Canada's Forests” report for 2018 from Natural Resources Canada.
Therefore, as Canada faces the challenge of transitioning to a low-carbon economy, we're very pleased the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change mentioned the need to increase the carbon sinks from forests, wetlands and agricultural lands. There is a great opportunity for the federal, provincial and territorial governments to work with industry to increase the implementation of forest carbon mitigation strategies. For example, harvesting more efficiently by collecting more wood per hectare harvested commercially and using it for products thereby reduces the amount of harvest waste that is left on the forest floor to decay and be burned. This would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from decaying and burning of wood.
We could also strive to increase the growth rate of trees above current levels through various techniques like planting improved seeds or tree species, or fertilization. This will capture carbon from the atmosphere more rapidly because the trees would grow faster.
Finally, more could be done in reallocation or reforestation. We could plant trees in areas recently affected by insects and fires where trees are growing poorly. As it stands, the industry does regenerate all our harvested areas; however, no one is really responsible for regenerating areas that are affected by natural disturbances where trees can sometimes take longer to come back. Such a strategy would capture carbon from the atmosphere more rapidly through faster regeneration.
The forest sector is also collaborating with academics, government and groups such as Ducks Unlimited Canada to better measure and conserve carbon stores in wetlands and peatland complexes. These areas hold enormous amounts of carbon, but we need more research to quantify their storage.
Climate change effects, such as increased forest fires and pest infestation, have a significant impact on Canadians, our communities and the forest industry. We also believe that more can be done to make our forests more resilient and ensure long-term sustainability. Another word would be adaptation.
We must continue research of long-term potential climate change impacts, such as modelling, implementing climate resilient solutions such as FireSmart communities, and work with our provincial counterparts to modify our forest management activities to allow for selecting and planting trees, based on the changing climate conditions.
A new forest bioproduct such as a wood fibre composite can replace plastic, for example, in a console of a Lincoln model by Ford. This contributes to a low-carbon economy in two ways. First, it replaces plastic from fossil fuels and, second, it reduces the vehicle's weight, which reduces its fuel consumption.
The forestry sector can also produce pyrolysis oil, a product recently announced by Canfor and Licella, which will replace oil produced from non-renewable sources. We must also remember that wood stores carbon in our homes and buildings in the long term.
Canada has an opportunity to make changes to the National Building Code to allow the construction of tall wood buildings, such as the 18-storey residence at the University of British Columbia. In fact, this afternoon, at about 3:30 p.m., I believe, Sidewalk Labs will be announcing a solid wood building in Toronto, which is a positive step in the fight against climate change. Each cubic metre of wood used represents nearly one tonne of carbon removed from the atmosphere and stored over the long term.
As I mentioned earlier, the forest products industry has already reduced their GHG emissions at the mill site by 66% since 1990. It will be challenging to reduce the carbon footprint at the facilities, but we believe we can reduce our emissions further. We can continue to improve our energy efficiency, looking at our mill operations. We can “fuel switch” using mill waste to displace fossil fuel, for example, biogas from our waste-water treatment system to replace natural gas. We can reduce our transportation emissions by bringing the trees to the mill or shipping our products to our customers, for example, looking at increasing the use of rail versus trucks.
We believe our efforts provide an excellent example of how industry and government can co-operate to tackle climate change on behalf of Canadians, but these opportunities will require capital investment. With that in mind, we do applaud the immediate capital investment tax reduction that was announced in the fall economic update, particularly related to clean energy, the writeoffs for clean energy, and the accelerated investment incentive.
While the sector does support a price on carbon, it is very important that carbon pricing revenue generated by governments should be revenue neutral and returned to the industry in some form, like a technology fund.
I would also like to highlight that our sector is a significant exporter of goods. Seventy per cent of what we produce gets exported, and it's a value of $37 billion. Our competition for wood products is Russia and the United States, and for pulp and paper it's the United States, Asia and South America. This globally competitive landscape has made it imperative that a carbon pricing scheme considers competitiveness. As a trade-exposed industry, our suppliers—chemicals, fuels, electricity and transportation—pass on the cost to our sector, but our sector has to absorb all the cost, and we cannot change the international commodity prices.
In conclusion, the world is facing an urgent need to address climate change and reduce carbon emissions. We will have to work together to develop innovative ideas and ensure that effective policies and programs are in place. The Canadian forest products industry is committed and willing to contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy and to work with governments to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Thank you for your attention. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
What we call 4R nutrient stewardship is based on the reduction of nitrous oxide emissions. It's also referred to as the NERP protocol. It's based on using the right amount of fertilizer, at the right rate, in the right place and at the right time. By doing that, we have huge opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are currently accruing through fertilizer use. We can also reduce volatilization, runoff, etc.
It's basically matching up the exact prescribed plant nutrients that you need. That can change depending on whether you're at the top of a knoll, as we say in agricultural soils, on a mid-slope, or down at the bottom. We have the software, technology and variable-rate application so that you can change the rates all throughout. It's already pre-programmed before you get into that tractor and start driving.
It's an amazing technology. It's being implemented all around the world. It was designed and created, of course, here in Canada. It's time for us to recognize that these protocols exist. They need to be continually updated with the science, as our science evolves, but it represents just one opportunity that we've already employed in the agricultural systems. We just need to actually recognize it.
We're part of the way there. We just need to give credit where credit is due, and recognize that this is a carbon cycle. When it comes down to pricing carbon, absolutely, people respond when you hit them in their wallets. As we are trade-exposed sectors working on small margins, we need to actually look at where all of these advancements have been made. Absolutely, we're part of the solution.