White Papers

Toward a Net Zero Future in the Forest Products Industry (WP-23-04)

November 15, 2023 Attachment: WP-23-04_Toward_Net_Zero_Future_Nov2023

The forest products industry has unique opportunities and constraints associated with designing an achievable strategy for attaining net zero, along with site-specific aspects that lead to company-specific analyses, strategies, and decisions as to whether to commit to achieving net zero, and by what date. Net zero refers to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere, by oceans or forests, for instance. Net zero targets have been made by governments in the United States, Canada, China, and the European Union, among others, and currently cover approximately 76% of global emissions. This NCASI white paper provides an overview of decarbonization technologies that could enable achievement of net zero, along with calculations of the resources and costs that may be required to reduce and/or offset the current industry greenhouse gas (GHG) profile.

Reviewed decarbonization technologies and approaches are structured around the following pillars of decarbonization:

  • Energy efficiency including combined heat and power utilization
  • Manufacturing of low-carbon fuels, feedstocks, and energy sources
  • Carbon capture, utilization, and storage
  • Electrification of heat

Forest product applications of decarbonization technologies within each of the decarbonization pillars are highlighted. Policy issues around incentivizing decarbonization technologies utilizing biomass are reviewed, as well as the potential impacts to biomass supplies if wide-scale bio-based decarbonization approaches are adopted within the US forest products industry.

KEYWORDS: Net zero, decarbonization, greenhouse gas emissions, pulp and paper industry, wood products sector, forest products industry