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  • Carbon released by clearcut logging in BC, 2010 to 2020

    BY INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION, the carbon released from decomposition and/or burning of trees that were logged from a given area of land is attributed to the year in which the area was logged. This includes all wood products made from those trees, like paper, lumber and plywood, which will eventually decompose or burn and will release their carbon back to the atmosphere. It also includes all the non-merchantable biomass that was left behind in the clearcut. In our estimate of carbon released by clearcut logging, we also include an estimate of the carbon that was released from the forest floor and soil after logging.

    The numbers below were derived from volumes of harvested trees provided by the BC ministry of forests' Harvest Billing System. The methodology we used to determine the original biomass in an area before it was clearcut is explained here. The weights are in carbon dioxide equivalents.

    The "cost of carbon released" for each year is based on the weight of carbon released and the dollar value set by the BC Carbon Tax for that year. If a tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions released from a logging truck's tailpipe had a price of $40 put on it in 2019, why shouldn't a tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions released as a result of clearcut logging?

    The federal government has set a schedule for increasing the carbon tax to $170 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 2030. By that time, 2020's level of emission from clearcut logging would have an associated cost of  $17.4 billion.

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