Carbon-Neutral Paper?


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Is carbon neutral paper possible? Info and advice for paper users.

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Carbon-Neutral Paper?

  1. 1. Climate and Paper: A Webinar for Magazine Companies and Professionals Jim Ford Climate for Ideas
  2. 2. About Climate for Ideas <ul><li>We work at the nexus of forests, climate, paper industry, and biodiversity. </li></ul><ul><li>An NGO providing research and analysis, scientific rigour. </li></ul><ul><li>Helping NGOs and companies to solve problems, create policies that benefit forests and the climate. </li></ul><ul><li>Member Environmental Paper Network (North American and Europe), High Conservation Value Resource Network; etc. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Aim of This Talk <ul><li>Understand the key issues: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘Carbon neutrality,’ forest impact of carbon, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low carbon products. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Understand the key terms </li></ul><ul><li>Identify myths and possible ‘greenwash’ </li></ul><ul><li>Offer ideas for lowering carbon footprint of your paper use. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Key Terms <ul><li>Greenhouse gases: Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), methane (CH 4 ), nitrous oxide (N 2 O), others. </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon dioxide equivalent: The accepted single measure of the greenhouse gas potency of an activity or product. Measured in terms of carbon dioxide, since CO 2 since it is the dominant greenhouse gas emitted by human activity. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Key Terms, cont. <ul><li>Carbon Offsets: Payments for projects usually unrelated to the activity, company or product being ‘offset’. International rules require additionality, permanence, and the absence of leakage. Offsets, while some may be good projects, are highly variable in performance and others are simply not valid, verging on economic scams. </li></ul><ul><li>Greenwash: Make unsubstantiated, misleading or false claims about the environmental attributes or performance of a company, industry or product. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Key Terms, cont. <ul><li>Carbon Footprint: Summary of the impact of a product (or activity, industry or company) on atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases, expressed in CO 2 equivalent. </li></ul><ul><li>Life Cycle Analysis: Another term for Carbon Footprints, but can be applied to the use of other resources such as water use, chemical use, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Absolutely critical to the measurement of a Carbon Footprint is a well defined limit to activities and a measuring of the impact of this activity on atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. This is not the same as ‘carbon neutrality.’ </li></ul>
  7. 7. Why Does It Matter? <ul><li>Climate is changing, mostly due to human-induced increases in the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Climate change was predicted based on the known factors affecting global temperature and now observed. </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change will be a destructive force, with negative impacts on weather patterns, water availability, sea rise, etc. Costs vastly outweigh any benefits (e.g., some regions with extended growing seasons). </li></ul><ul><li>Our choices can ameliorate the problem. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Climate Impact of Paper <ul><li>Carbon footprint in the forest is very large; Climate for Ideas estimates that European paper consumption alone uses carbon from forests equivalent to 7.4% of EU emissions annually, ~300 million tonnes CO 2 equivalent. </li></ul>
  9. 9. What Should Be Done? <ul><li>Understand what our policies goals should be to stabilize atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases: </li></ul><ul><li>Fossil fuels – reducing use; </li></ul><ul><li>Biomass carbon – allow forest re-growth to re-capture historic levels of carbon. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Removals / Storage Emissions
  11. 11. Myth: Biomass is ‘Carbon Neutral’ <ul><li>Our choices of whether to use biomass as a fuel directly results in lower levels of C in forests, more in the atmosphere. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to account for the opportunity cost of carbon: if we use it as a fuel, we cannot use it to lower atmospheric levels of CO 2 . </li></ul><ul><li>Using biomass as a fuel on an industrial scale: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Emits C into the atmosphere as CO 2 . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Slows forest growth. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Forest harvest for paper SLOWS forest growth
  13. 13. Forest harvest for paper means LESS Carbon stored in forests, MORE CO 2 in the atmosphere
  14. 16. <ul><li>Decision-point: </li></ul><ul><li>Procure virgin fiber, </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce, or </li></ul><ul><li>Buy Recycled </li></ul>Virgin Recycle or Reduce
  15. 17. Myth: ‘Carbon Neutral’ Paper <ul><li>Does not exist in reality. </li></ul><ul><li>Claims of carbon neutral paper will attract criticism of NGOs. </li></ul><ul><li>Purchasing credits may distort purchasers’ decisions (i.e., what if products had no price?). Rather than all papers claiming zero emissions, is it not better to know the actual performance of those products? </li></ul><ul><li>Purchasing credits will be abused by the less scrupulous (voire Bernie Madoff) at the expense of those whose intentions are good. </li></ul>
  16. 18. Low Carbon Paper <ul><li>High recycled content is the key. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of renewable energy: methane (biogas) replacing natural gas or other fossil fuel, wind and solar replacing grid electricity. </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated pulp and paper, or ‘wet lap’ pulp. </li></ul><ul><li>Other technical factors and clean production, using less chemicals. </li></ul>
  17. 19. Low Carbon Paper - Example
  18. 20. Steps To Take <ul><li>Reduce excess paper use, roll size, trim size, basis weight, overruns. </li></ul><ul><li>Shift to higher recycled content. </li></ul><ul><li>Compare inputs or papers using identical methodologies. </li></ul><ul><li>EPN: ‘Do not pass on claims of carbon neutrality.’ </li></ul><ul><li>FSC for virgin fiber: lower impact on forests. </li></ul>