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Implementing AF & PA's climate vision.

The first anniversary of the Administration's Climate VISION program marks a good time to tell the forest products industry how AF & PA intends to reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 12% compared to 2012. We have an outstanding story to tell, highlighted by paper recovery, renewable products, the sequestration of carbon dioxide in forests and forest products, and increased energy efficiency and technological improvements.

Climate VISION, sponsored by the Department of Energy, stands for Voluntary Innovative Sector Initiatives: Opportunities Now. Under this program, industries representing 90% of the U.S. economy have promised to reduce greenhouse emissions intensity. The forest products industry has proposed one of the highest emission reduction goals. Here's how we will achieve it.

NEAR-TERM OPPORTUNITIES

In making its Climate VISION commitment, the forest products industry identified several programs that are fundamental to the industry and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some aspects of these programs can be implemented immediately to yield results over the next decade. These are:

* In 2003, AF & PA announced a new paper recovery goal of 55% of all paper consumed in the United States by 2012. AF & PA expects that achieving the recovery rate of 55 percent will lead to corresponding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by reducing potential emissions from landfills.

* The world's forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it for long periods of time. Efforts to increase forest productivity and to sustainably manage forests, increase carbon sequestration. To encourage sustainable management of forests, AF & PA has taken a strong position against illegal logging and is actively promoting mutual recognition of various forestry sustainable management standards, such as our own Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program.

* In addition to managing forests that store or sequester carbon, the forest products industry also produces products that contribute to carbon sequestration.

* Energy efficiency and technology improvements are accounting for greenhouse gas reductions in the industry. AF & PA also is a part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Industries of the Future program, a collaborative research and development partnership. AF & PA is promoting technologies emerging from this research effort, a number of which will cut energy use and minimize environmental impacts while improving productivity.

CROSS-SECTOR PROJECTS

A number of the steps that AF & PA is taking through Climate VISION will have a favorable effect on other industries. For example, the commitment to recover 55% of the paper currently used in the United States will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill. Also, generation of electricity from biomass or through cogeneration processes reduces the amount of power the industry purchases. The forest products industry currently produces and exports electricity generated from renewable biomass sources and is developing technologies that will increase exports of electricity generated from renewable energy.

ACCELERATE INVESTMENT IN R & D

Under the Agenda 2020 program, the forest products industry is developing technologies that will create energy from its biomass byproducts. Black liquor, created during the chemical pulping process, can be efficiently burned like natural gas when gasified under pressure. If fully commercialized, black liquor gasification could produce enormous energy and environmental benefits. In fact, biomass gasification technologies could make the U.S. forest products industry energy self-reliant and an exporter of electricity created from renewable energy sources.

A commercial-scale black liquor plant is being built by Georgia-Pacific Corp. In Big Island, Virginia, USA, and is slated to go online in 2004. The project is part of the Agenda 2020 program and is a partnership with DOE.

MEASUREMENT AND REPORTING

In 2002, AF & PA, acting through the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations, developed a calculation tool for estimating greenhouse gas emissions from pulp and paper mills. In 2003, AF & PA members, working with their Canadian counterparts, developed a similar tool for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from wood products facilities. This year, AF & PA will be working with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy on a comprehensive forest carbon accounting methodology. These tools address the industry's unique attributes and allow the international industry to collect credible, transparent data that is comparable around the world.

AF & PA members are proud of their commitment to reduce the nation's greenhouse gas emissions intensity. It gives our members an opportunity

to support the administration's voluntary approach to climate change and to show their commitment to making voluntary programs work.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sharon Kneiss is vice president, regulatory affairs for the American Forest & Paper Association, Washington, D.C., USA.

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Title Annotation:Manager's Notebook
Author:Kneiss, Sharon
Publication:Solutions - for People, Processes and Paper
Date:Apr 1, 2004
Words:743
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