Canada accused of putting its timber trade ahead of global environment | Canada & More Trending News


The Canadian authorities has been accused of putting its home timber trade ahead of the global environment, following a leaked try to water down the world’s most bold rules on deforestation-free trade.

Weeks earlier than the United Nations biodiversity convention, Cop15 in Montreal, the host nation despatched a letter to the European Commission asking for a reconsideration of “burdensome traceability requirements” inside a proposed EU scheme that goals to eradicate unsustainably sourced wooden merchandise from the world’s greatest market.

The letter from the Canadian ambassador to the EU, Ailish Campbell, additionally referred to as for a “phased” strategy that may decelerate implementation, and a assessment of plans to incorporate “degraded” forests among the many areas thought of in danger.

Green MPs and conservation teams mentioned the lobbying effort confirmed the federal government of Justin Trudeau positioned extra of a precedence on its paper, timber and wooden merchandise trade than the worldwide dedication it made finally yr’s Glasgow local weather convention to “halt and reverse” forest loss and land degradation by 2030.

“In this letter, you can perfectly see Canada wanted to protect its economic interests rather than the forest,” mentioned the French MEP Marie Toussaint, one of the initiators of the brand new rules. “For a country that is supposed to be in favour of conserving natural resources to say ‘don’t go so fast’ is surprising, especially when they will be at the forefront of the biodiversity issue in Montreal in a couple of weeks.”

Toussaint, who’s a deputy chief of the Green group in parliament, mentioned the proposed new rules, that are within the final stage of negotiation this week between the European Commission, council and parliament, are designed to tighten controls and checks on forest merchandise coming into the EU. This would come with geolocation necessities in order that patrons can know the precise origin of wooden for decking, furnishings or paper. Unlike earlier measures the draft doesn’t focus solely on unlawful deforestation but in addition authorized, unsustainable practices.

It is a vital step that reveals the EU is critical in regards to the 2030 goal, Toussaint mentioned. “The EU can be proud. We are doing it in an ambitious way,” she mentioned. “This is long overdue. For decades, we’ve tried to rely on voluntary reporting and commitments, but we can see this hasn’t been working.”

The US-based environmental advocacy group Mighty Earth mentioned the proposed regulation was a possible turning level for safeguarding forests as a result of it might set a brand new global commonplace. “This legislation could be a gamechanger. It’s too bad that Canada is working to gut the single most-important piece of forest legislation that we have seen in the past decade,” mentioned the group’s founder and chief govt, Glenn Hurowitz.

Negotiations are at a crucial stage. After this week’s talks, a deal ought to be hammered out by the top of the yr, however the stage of ambition is underneath dispute. Sweden, one other supposedly inexperienced nation with a big logging trade, is alleged to have raised issues about some human rights clauses. Poland and Italy are reportedly reluctant to incorporate rubber among the many merchandise lined. Others, corresponding to Germany, Belgium and Slovenia, are robust supporters of powerful rules.

Canada’s lobbying efforts are underneath explicit scrutiny earlier than the Montreal convention, which can put a highlight on the nation’s inexperienced fame in addition to a darker environmental aspect. Canada is a base for some of the world’s greatest mining corporations, together with Belo Sun, which goals to open an enormous gold pit within the Amazon rainforest. Canada’s exploitation of tar sands in Alberta has additionally been broadly criticised as out-of-step with efforts to maintain global warming to between 1.5C and 2C above pre-industrial ranges. The sustainability of the nation’s forest-products corporations, corresponding to Paper Excellence and Resolute, has additionally been questioned.

The letter from Campbell notes that the nation’s annual deforestation fee is lower than 0.2%, so Canada ought to be given particular consideration as a “low-risk” nation.

But reviews point out that some of the nation’s exports come from old-growth forests, that are much more vital than secondary woodland for biodiversity safety and carbon sequestration.

Environmental teams say the timber trade typically cuts underneath the cover, which is categorised as “degradation” slightly than “deforestation”. It has recognized fragmentation of the remaining pure forests as a serious risk to biodiversity, together with the dietary consumption of caribou, which now must be given supplementary feeding from people in a single space as a result of the lichen they often depend on is scarcer, partly because of this of industrial logging. The scenario is worst in British Columbia, the place the inhabitants of caribou has declined from about 40,000 to 17,000 up to now century, with the steepest fall up to now few many years.

In the letter, Campbell insists there is no such thing as a agreed definition of degradation so it shouldn’t be included within the EU’s new rules. But scientists insist that degraded land have to be included and industrial logging of old-growth forests have to be halted to align with a climate-safe world.

Campbell, who has extra of an trade than environmental background, put the precedence on trade in her letter. “We are greatly concerned that some elements of the EU’s draft regulation on deforestation-free products will lead to significant trade barriers for Canadian exporters to the EU. In particular, the requirements in the Regulation will result in increased costs, add burdensome traceability requirements (eg geolocation requirements) and risks negatively affecting trade, including well over C$1bn in forest and agricultural products exported from Canada to the EU,” she wrote.

Hurowitz mentioned Canada ought to settle for tighter controls and better requirements if it needs to dwell as much as its inexperienced fame, in any other case its attraction for particular “low-risk” remedy will smack of double requirements for wealthy northern nations in contrast with poorer tropical ones.

“Developed countries know how to speak the language of sustainability. Even when they are bulldozing old-growth forests, they’re good at slapping a green veneer on it,” he mentioned. “Trudeau presents himself as green but in lobbying to weaken the EU’s forest protection rules, he is aligning himself with the likes of [former president] Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. Canada needs to decide which side it is on.”

More trade-focused MEPs concerned within the negotiations expressed hope that Canada would dwell as much as its inexperienced fame. Christophe Hansen, secretary normal of Luxembourg’s Christian Social People’s get together, mentioned the letter mustn’t detract from the Montreal Cop. “Canada being a host of the UN biodiversity conference does not prevent it from having its own preoccupations, but I am confident they will carry out their role as an honest broker and neutral host as they have done many times before.”

The Canadian overseas ministry and embassy to the EU have been approached for remark.

Canada accused of putting its timber trade ahead of global environment | Canada

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Canada accused of putting its timber trade ahead of global environment | Canada

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Canada accused of putting its timber trade ahead of global environment | Canada

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