6.      Pulp and paper

The pulp and paper sector produces all types of paper and cardboard. Fuel and energy use are the main sources of GHG emissions during forestry, pulping, and manufacturing of paper (IPCC 2014b).

6.1.  Activity level

During recent decades, global pulp and paper production has increased steadily, mostly because of increased demand from developing countries. This trend is expected to continue and total production is expected to increase from 392 Mt in 2010 to 755 Mt in 2050, an increase of 93 percent.

6.2.  Emission reduction potential

The global direct CO2 emissions from pulp and paper production are expected to decrease from 238 Mt to 164 Mt by 2050, roughly 31 percent. These emission reductions would predominantly originate from the OECD region, closely followed by China, the second largest contributor. A wide range of energy efficiency technologies are available for this sector, including more efficient heat use for drying paper, increasing the energy efficiency of the pulp and paper mills and waste-to-energy technologies.


According to the IEA, energy efficiency measures would be responsible for 47 percent of the emission reductions, and fuel switching would be responsible for 38 percent of the emission reductions. The latter includes the increased use of biomass and shifting to less-intensive conventional fuels. Higher material efficiency, for example through printing on demand or paper reuse, also can also reduce emissions (IPCC 2014b).

6.3.  Carbon intensity pathway

The sectoral scope 1 carbon intensity pathway decreases from 0.61 ton of CO2 per ton of paper in 2010 to 0.22 ton of CO2 per ton of paper in 2050. This is a decrease of almost 64 percent, as shown in Figure I.6.




Figure I. 6 As pulp and paper manufacturing activity grows, its carbon intensity wold need to decline by 64 percent by 2050

Source: based on IEA (2014).