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EU research looks into Europe’s carbon sinks

Media Briefing - 18 October 2002 - Valencia (E)

 

Brussels, 16 October 2002

Key words : climate change, carbon sinks, forest management

 


Are European forests, soil and grass the dustbins for carbon dioxide (CO2)? On 18 October 2002 the European Commission will present the CarboEurope research initiative in Valencia (Spain). It is a cluster of 15 research projects supported by the European Commission with a budget of €25 Million. The project brings together around 160 research institutions from over 20 countries. It looks at whether the biosphere, and above all forests, can reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the principal cause of climate warming. Earth’s biosphere may absorb more carbon than it releases. European forests could therefore be huge carbon sinks. CarboEurope’s preliminary results point to a CO2 absorption rate of up to 30% of EU annual industrial emissions.

According to the EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin: “Through the CarboEurope initiative, our best scientists across Europe are working together to be able to better quantify the capacity of forests to stock carbon. This is particularly important if we want to be able to meet the stringent Kyoto Protocol targets for CO2 reduction. This issue is on the international agenda, in view of the Kyoto follow-up meeting in New Dehli. Over the next four years, the EU will devote €700 million to support research on global change and ecosystems. More research will help the EU promote its sustainable development agenda on the world stage.”

CarboEurope is a cluster of 15 research projects supported by the European Commission with 25 Mill. €, associating around 160 research institutions from more than 20 countries. This research project did demonstrate that the European biosphere is absorbing CO2 equivalent to 10-30% of the annual industrial emissions; but it is also pointing to the risk that the biosphere loses the sink capacity in a changing climate. There is now experimental evidence underpinning model projections that seasonal rain forest in Eastern Amazonia might lose their carbon sink capacity in a changing (dryer) climate. Carbon sink could in so far turn into a source of carbon production.

In this context, sustainable forest management will play a key role to protect and enhance the carbon stocks and to mitigate climate change. The project has shown that semi-natural forests with high bio-diversity and a different age class structure serves this purpose best. In addition, it also found that old pristine forests still take up carbon and that the protection of these forests should receive high priority in order to protect the large carbon stocks.

In its final stage CarboEurope will be able to measure and verify the Kyoto signal, the CO2 reduction in the atmosphere as committed by the Parties. This will be achieved through a concept based on ground based ecosystem and atmospheric (local) measurements, regional and continental aircraft measurements integrated and synthesised in a modelling and data assimilation framework.

CarboEurope is the world’s first successful effort in action in which a coherent, comprehensive integration of terrestrial and atmospheric carbon sciences has been realised at continental scale. The cluster is now regarded as a “template” for world research on the carbon cycle. The US, Japan and China plan to launch similar initiatives.

The special one-day media briefing in Valencia (E) on 18 October, will provide a unique insight into research activities being undertaken to meet Europe’s climate change targets, particularly focusing on carbon sinks. Further to presentations of the EC CarboEurope cluster of projects by researchers, the programme includes on-site demonstrations of the measuring tools, from planes and towers to tree leaves and soil testing instruments.

The press briefing will be held IN Valencia (E) at EUPHORE, the biggest photoreactor in the world.

Web: http://www.bgc-jena.mpg.de/public/carboeur/

For further information concerning the projects presented, please contact:
  • Claus Bruening, Scientific officer, Global Change Unit, Environment Programme Research DG
    Telephone: +32 2 295 44 84 E-mail: claus.bruning@ec.europa.eu
For further information concerning the press event, please contact: Spokesman for Commissioner Busquin:
  • Fabbio Fabbi, Spokesperson for Research and development, Press DG
    Telephone: +32 2 296 41 74 - Fax: +32 (0) 2 296 30 03 E-mail: fabio.fabbi@ec.europa.eu

CARBOEUROPE

Friday October 18, 2002 - Valencia (Spain)
EUPHORE -Fundación Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo (CEAM)

DRAFT AGENDA

Chairman
J. Rosenbaum

European Commission, Research DG, Head of Unit, Information and Communication

10:30 Welcome and short introduction of the venue (EUPHORE smog chamber)
M. Millán
Director, CEAM (Spain)
10:35 Why CARBOEUROPE?
A. Ghazi
European Commission, Research DG, Head of Unit, Global change
10:45 Video Presentation
10:55 CARBOEUROPE research cluster: An outstanding European research initiative
Presentation: H. Dolman Free University of Amsterdam, (The Netherlands)
11:15 Coffee Break
11:50 CarboEurope: Can forest mitigate climate change?
Presentation: R. Valentini University of Tuscia (Italy)
12:10 Conclusions
C. Patermann European Commission, Research DG, Director, Environment Programme
12:20 Discussion
12:30 Lunch Buffet
13:30 Visit of EUPHORE photo reactor and ultra light research aircraft “Sky Arrow” at CEAM
14:00 Departure by bus for the case visit at “EL SALER”
14:30 Arrival to the flux tower station in “EL SALER”
16:30 End of the programme & transport by bus to Valencia international Airport

Annex

CarboEurope Chairman:
Han Dolman
Geo-Environmental Science Faculty of Earth and Life Science; Vrije Universiteit De Boelelann 10851081 HV Amsterdam, NL
Tel.: +31 20 4447358, Fax: +31 204449940 e-mail: dola@geo.vu.nl

CarboEurope Project Office:
Annette Freibauer
Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry Carl-Zeiss-Promenade 1a, Postfach 100164 D-07701, Jena, Germany
Tel. +49 3641 686726, Fax +49 3641 686710 e-mail: afreib@bgc-jena.mpg.de

    About CarboEurope cluster

    Problems to be solved:
    The cluster is designed to better understand, quantify and predict under future and current scenarios the European carbon balance from local ecosystem to regional and continental scale. The results will support policy-makers and authorities responsible for negotiation and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Carbon inventories will be harmonised at European scale. It also addresses possible incentives of the Kyoto Protocol that may conflict with those of the bio-diversity convention, such as the creation of plantations with high production levels but with attendant bio-diversity loss.

    Objectives and approach:
    The aims are to advance understanding of carbon fixation mechanisms and to quantify the magnitude of the carbon sources/sinks for a range of European terrestrial ecosystems and how these may be constrained by climate variability, availability of nutrients, changing rates of nitrogen deposition and interaction with management regimes. Conventional ecosystem inventories will be harmonised at European level. Regional programmes in the Amazon area and Siberia complement research focusing on European ecosystem.

    The methodology is based on the assumption that adequate monitoring in the context of the Kyoto Protocol requires above all an understanding of ecosystems from stand scale, at national to global scale. CarboEurope has chosen a dual constraint approach to better quantify the European sink strength and its inter-annual variation by combining conventional carbon inventory data and atmospheric measurements (tropospheric CO2 concentration and CO2 fluxes above the vegetation surface). The data are integrated through ecosystem and atmospheric models and synthesised in an advanced data assimilation system.

    The cluster is based on a network of 28 European test sites for in situ measurement of carbon and energy fluxes in boreal, temperate and Mediterranean forests and 2 wetland sites. A similar programme is carried out for the Amazon and Siberia but at smaller scale. The forest network is accompanied by 9 agriculture test sites across Europe focusing on greenhouse gas emissions from grassland. Ground based CO2 measurements of carbon will be accompanied by an aircraft monitoring programme on European scale to determine the interplay of anthropogenic emissions and ecosystem behaviour. Finally, atmospheric and ecosystems models will be used to integrate individual measurements and conventional ecosystem inventories. Synthesis across time and space is done through an advanced data assimilation system.

    Expected impact:
    The cluster will provide input to the decision making process during negotiation and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. It will provide data on the carbon source/sink strength of European terrestrial ecosystems on continental and regional scale and reduce the uncertainties. Furthermore, the development of an independent carbon verification tool will help the EU member states to fulfil their Kyoto commitments. Methodology could be used to monitor carbon balance in other regions of the world.

    RESEARCH PROJECTS OF CARBOEUROPE CLUSTER

    The CarboEurope project cluster is composed by the following 15 projects:

    Airbone European Regional Observation of the Carbon Balance (AEROCARB) 13 partners from 8 countries (FR, NL, CH, DE, IT, HU, UK, DK)
    Co-ordinator : Philippe Ciais
    Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement Avenue de la Terrasse 91198 Gif sur Yvette, France Tel.: 33 1 69 08 95 06 e-mail: ciais@lsce.saclay.cea.fr
    Terrestrial and Atmospheric Carbon Observing System Infrastructure (TACOS)
    7 Partners from 4 countries (FR, IT, DE, NL)

    Co-ordinator : Philippe Ciais
    Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement Avenue de la Terrasse 91198 Gif sur Yvette, France Tel.: 33 1 69 08 95 06 e-mail: ciais@lsce.saclay.cea.fr
    Carbon Assimilation and Modelling of the European Land Surface (CAMELS)
    9 partners from 6 contries and JRC (UK, FR, DE, NL, IT, FI)

    Co-ordinator : Peter Cox
    Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research London Road RG12 2SY Bracknell, United Kingdom Tel: 44 1344 856910 Fax: 44 1344 854898 e-mail: Peter.Cox@metoffice.com
    Age-Related Dynamics of Carbon Exchange in European Forests. Integrating Net Ecosystem Productivity in Space and Time (CARBO-AGE)
    5 partners from 5 countries (UK, IT, FI, SE, FR)

    Co-ordinator : John Grace
    University of Edinburgh
    Inst. of Ecology & Resource Management
    Darwin Building, Mayfield Road
    EH9 3JU EDINBURGH, United Kingdom
    Tel: 44 131 650 5400
    Fax: 44 131 662 0478
    e-mail: jgrace@ed.ac.uk
    An investigation on Carbon and Energy exchanges of terrestrial ecosystems in Europe (CARBOEUROFLUX)
    19 partners from 12 countries (IT, SE, DE CZ, FR, BE, FI, UK, DK, NL, PT, IL)

    Co-ordinator : Riccardo Valentini
    University of Tuscia
    Department of Forest Science and Environment
    Via San Camillo de Lellis
    01100 Viterbo, Italy
    Tel.: 39 0761 357394
    Fax: 39 0761 357389
    e-mail: rik@unitus.it
    Carbon balance estimates and resource management support with Data from project networks implemented art European continental scale (CARBODATA)
    5 partners from 3 countries (IT, DE, FR)

    Co-ordinator : Riccardo Valentini
    University of Tuscia
    Department of Forest Science and Environment
    Via San Camillo de Lellis
    01100 Viterbo, Italy
    Tel.: 39 0761 357394
    Fax: 39 0761 357389
    e-mail: rik@unitus.it
    Concerted Action : Synthesis of the European Greenhouse Gas Budget (CARBOEUROPE GHG)
    13 partner and members from 8 countries (IT, FI, UK, SE, FR, NO, DE, NL)

    Co-ordinator : Riccardo Valentini
    University of Tuscia
    Department of Forest Science and Environment
    Via San Camillo de Lellis
    01100 Viterbo, Italy
    Tel.: 39 0761 357394
    Fax: 39 0761 357389
    e-mail: rik@unitus.it
    Multi-source inventory methods for quantifying carbon stocks and stock changes in European forests (CARBOINVENT)
    14 partners from 9 countries and JRC (AU, FI, IRL, SZ, DE, HU, BE, ES, IT)

    Co-ordinator : Bernhard Schlamadinger
    Joanneum Research
    Institute of Energy Research
    Elisabethstrasse 5
    8010 Graz, Austria
    Tel: 43 316 8761340
    Fax: 43 316 8761320
    e-mail: bernhard.schlamadinger@joanneum.ac.at
    The future of the tropical forest Carbon Sink (CARBONSINK-LBA)
    14 partners from 7 countries (NL, UK, DE, IT, FR, PT, Brazil)

    Co-ordinator : Pavel Kabat
    ALTERRA Green World Research (formerly SC-DLO)
    Department of Water & Environment
    Droevendaalsesteeg 3,
    Bldg. 101, P.O. Box 125
    6700 AC, Wageningen, The Netherlands
    Tel.: 31 317 474314 / 474299 (office)
    Fax: 31 317 424812
    e-mail: p.kabat@alterra.wag-ur.nl
    Continuous HIgh-precisiOn Tall Tower Observations of greenhouse gases (CHIOTTO)
    9 partners from 7 countries ( NL, FR, DE, HU, UK, IT, SE)

    Co-ordinator : Alex Vermeulen
    Energy Research Centre forThe Netherlands
    Unit Ecn Clean Fossil Fuels
    Westerduinweg 3
    1755 ZG Petten, The Netherlands
    Tel: 31 224 564194
    Fax: 31 224 568488
    Email: a.vermeulen@ecn.nl
    Forest Carbon Nitrogen Transactions (FORCAST) 17 partners from 8 countries (DE, IT, SE, FR, UK, CZ, DK, NL)
    Co-ordinator : Ernst-Detlef Schulze
    Max-Planck-Institut fuer Biogeochemie
    Postfach 100164
    Carl-Zeiss Promenade 10
    07701 Jena, Germany
    Tel.: 49 3641 643702
    Fax: 49 3641 643794
    e-mail: detlef.schulze@bgc-jena.mpg.de
    Coordination and dissemination of carbon research results in light of the implementation of Kyoto Protocol in Europe (CARBOEUROPE acc) 5 partners from 5 countries (DE, IT, UK, NL, FR)
    Co-ordinator : Ernst-Detlef Schulze
    Max-Planck-Institut fuer Biogeochemie
    Postfach 100164
    Carl-Zeiss Promenade 10
    07701 Jena, Germany
    Tel.: 49 3641 643702
    Fax: 49 3641 643794
    e-mail: detlef.schulze@bgc-jena.mpg.de
    Sources and sinks of greenhouse gases from managed European grasslands and mitigation strategies (GREENGRASS) 18 partners from 8 countries (FR, NL, DK, UK, IRL, CH, HU, IT)
    Co-ordinator : Jean-François Soussana
    Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
    Centre de Clermont-Theix-Lyon
    Avenue du Brézet, 234
    63039 Clermont-Ferrand, Cédex 2, France
    Tel: 33 473 624423
    Fax: 33 473 624457
    e-mail: soussana@clermont.inra.fr
    Regional Assessment and Modelling of the Carbon Balance within Europe (RECAB) 10 partners from 7 countries ( NL, IT, DE, ES, SE, FR)
    Co-ordinator : Ronald Hutjes
    ALTERRA
    P.O. Box 47
    6700 AA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
    Tel.: 31 317 474744
    Fax: 31 317 419000
    e-mail: r.w.a.hutjes@alterra.wag-ur.nl
    Terrestrial Carbon Observing System - Siberia (TCOS) 11 partner from 5 countries (DE, FR, NL, IT, RU)
    Co-ordinator : Martin Heimann
    Max-Planck-Institut fuer Biogeochemie
    Postfach 100164
    Carl-Zeiss Promenade 10
    07701 Jena, Germany
    Tel.: 49 3641 64 686 720/686 701
    Fax: 49 3641 64- 686 710
    e-mail: martin.heimann@bgc-jena.mpg.de
    web: http://www.bgc-jena.mpg.de/~martin.heimann

    ANNEX: CARBOEUROPE project cluster, information on budget

    Acronym
    N° of partners
    EU-contribution €
    Total costs €
    CARBONSINK-LBA
    13
    2.060.000
    2.788.000
    CARBOEUROFLUX
    19
    2.559.000
    3.960.000
    RECAB
    10
    1.651.000
    2.623.000
    FORCAST
    17
    2.807.000
    3.185.000
    CARBO-AGE
    5
    1.098.000
    1.379.000
    CARBODATA
    5
    675.000
    887.000
    AEROCARB
    13
    2.047.000
    3.062.000
    CARBOEUROPE acc
    5
    297.000
    297.000
    TCOS
    11
    2.486.000
    2.954.000
    GREENGRASS
    18
    2.411.000
    4.361.000
    TACOS-Infrastrcture
    7
    1.469.000
    2.133.000
    CARBOINVENT*
    14
    1.813.000
    2.712.000
    CHIOTTO*
    9
    1.598.000
    2.156.000
    CAMELS*
    9
    1.400.000
    2.299.000
    CARBOEUROPE GHG*
    13
    1.257.000
    1.257.000
    Total
    168
    25.628.000
    36.133.000

    *negotiation finalised, project start expeted in Nov. 2002


              

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