The European Economic and Social Committee has called for forests and wood-based products to play a central role in climate-change mitigation as carbon sinks and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Forestry must play a role in Europe’s sustainable future according to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in an exploratory opinion drafted by EESC Vice-President Seppo Kallio and adopted in March 2009. The opinion was requested by European Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström in June 2008.
The report is in keeping with the recommendations of the White Paper on climate change adaptation, which outlines the need to analyse options for an EU approach to forest protection and its role in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
EU forests and the forest-based sector can help meet EU climate-change commitments in several ways:
The EESC proposed a number of measures for the EU to take:
However, on-going research by the UK Forestry Commission indicates there are ‘still areas of uncertainty, particularly regarding how forests and wood products can be best used to off-set human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases’.
The Forest Commission is hesitant to promote carbon sequestration through forestry. It warns that there is a limit to the amount of carbon that woodland can store. Moreover, sequestered carbon could be released – through, for example, felling, forest fires or outbreaks of pests and diseases.
“'European Union should increase the use of wood to tackle climate change', urges EESC” (EESC press release):
‘Climate change mitigation’ (UK Forestry Commission):
‘Adapting to climate change: A European framework for action’: COM (2009) 147:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2009:0147:FIN:EN:PDF [79 KB]
Pew Centre on Global Climate Change: