Understanding Climate Change Issues and How They Could Affect the Forest Industry and Its Companies, 1998 Environmental Conference Proceedings
The authors review the genesis and development of international activities from the signing of the Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 until the latest conference of the parties in Kyoto Japan last December 1997. An effort is made to help the reader understand some of the scientific underpinnings of climate change and how different policy positions, domestic and international, have been developed and the underlying factors justifying such policies. Essentially, it is a risk management issue of global dimensions. Since the movement towards outright reductions via controls or tradable permits is a serious course of action contemplated by most developed countries, the authors expand in the description of the peculiarities of the forest products industry in matters of greenhouse gas (GHG) generation and reduction. Pertinent observations are made about the distinction between net and gross carbon dioxide emissions. The term “sinks” and the use of renewable and non-fossil fuels have been initially defined by the Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol and pending definition of important modalities on these matters could be resolved next November at Buenos Aires. The resolution of these pending matters will be of great importance for the companies of the forest industry and their input to the preparation work for Buenos Aires is indispensable. The major details of the Kyoto Protocol are reviewed in the light of their potential influence on the forest industry. Different competitive aspects involved in the exemption of developing countries from similar commitments as those for developed countries are analyzed as well as competitive advantages for certain European producers due to the “bubble” approach allowed for regions such as the European Union. The authors explore the major threats and opportunities that the Kyoto Protocol and the Administration’s action plan could bring to the forest industry. In conclusion, deliberate, prompt designing of a strategic and tactical plan for the forest industry is an imperative if potential threats are to be dwarfed and hidden assets realized.