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S&Ds: Healthy forests and carbon sinks are key to addressing climate emergency

Date

13 Mar 2023

Sections

Energy

The European Parliament is set to agree tomorrow on the revised bloc’s regulation on land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) – with the aim to increase the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by these sectors.

The regulation covers the use of soils, trees, plants, biomass and timber, which are responsible for emitting and absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. Under the agreed text, the amount of CO2 absorbed by these natural carbon sinks will have to increase to 310 million tonnes by 2030, a necessary step to allow the EU to honour its commitment to achieve 55% net-emission reductions by the end of the decade.

The agreement is all the more important as, at current trends, the CO2 absorption capacity of Europe’s forests, peatlands and meadows is projected to decrease due to unsustainable harvesting practices in the forestry sector and intensive agriculture.

Along with increased emissions reductions throughout all economic sectors, it is equally important for the S&D Group that the EU seeks to preserve and restore its natural sinks, particularly its forests, so that these can capture more CO2 – one of the greenhouse gases that is responsible for climate change. As agriculture and forestry are sectors that too often suffer from poor working conditions, we have also successfully ensured a socially fair transition.

S&D negotiator on LULUCF, Delara Burkhardt, said:

“We put nature at the heart of the EU climate architecture. Healthy ecosystems can remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and store them. That is why forests, meadows and moors are natural allies in our fight against climate change and its increasing social and economic costs. We must support what supports us in this fight! Land and forests will not replace the urgent need to reduce emissions, but they will play a crucial role in helping the EU meet its climate commitments.

“In contrast with the proposal from the Commission, we succeeded in including new biodiversity criteria in the LULUCF regulation, providing incentives for member states to make their forest management more sustainable and to restore their ecosystems, which will also be necessary to achieve the higher CO2 removal target. This is how we can address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss together.

“We know that land-use and forestry are sectors with often poor working conditions. We have therefore successfully put in place obligations for member states to assess, take into account the labour developments in this economic sector, and provide adequate support to impacted workers.”

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