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Forests and climate

Fern’s aim is for an EU climate policy that halts deforestation, restores forests AND reduces fossil fuel emissions

Fern’s analysis: Forests store vast amounts of carbon. Protecting and restoring forests can help keep global temperature rises to well below 2o Celsius (aiming for 1.5 o Celsius), the goal agreed at the United Nations’ climate negotiations in Paris. But instead of protecting forests, we are clearing and degrading them, while draining carbon-rich peatlands in tropical regions. Ten per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are released into the atmosphere as a result of deforestation. It is simply not possible to continue this destruction and achieve the targets outlined in the Paris Agreement.

In many regions, including Europe, forests are heavily degraded and under threat. Restoring them would increase their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide and give us a greater chance of limiting global temperature increases.

Evidence shows that forest restoration, done with the consent and full involvement of local communities is positive for forests, people and the climate if done as well as, and not instead of reducing fossil fuel emissions. ‘Offsetting’, where protecting forests is used as an excuse to burn more fossil fuels will do nothing to reduce the dangers of climate change. For that reason and many others, Fern has long campaigned against carbon trading. To keep average global temperature rises to well below 2o Celsius the EU, as a wealthy industrial region, must reduce emissions (from fossil fuel use and forest loss) to zero well before 2050, while ensuring the restoration of degraded forests within the EU and globally.

What Fern is doing: Fern is working with NGOs, policy makers and scientists to ensure EU forest and climate policies respect the rights of forest peoples and protect and restore forests.

To learn more about this campaign read Misleading Numbers, The Case for Separating Land and Fossil Based Carbon Emissions

 

Most recent publications

EU’s Environment Committee recognises role of forests in fighting climate change but fails on bioenergy

The European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee today voted to increase removals of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by forests from 2030 onwards, recognising the important role that EU fore

What impact has the Renewable Energy Directive had on EU forests?

The EU Renewable Energy Directive was launched in 2009 to great fanfare and the promise that the EU would fulfil at least 20 per cent of its total energy needs with renewables. Few could have guessed that
a policy intended to help the EU meet climate goals would lead to vast increases in the burning of wood, degrading forests in Europe and beyond.
 
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PDF iconReport summary310.81 KB

Blog: Aviation industry's carbon offsetting plans keep flying into trouble

by Julia Christian

Keeping global warming below 1.5°C - which the Paris Agreement strives to – means fundamental changes for industries from energy to transport. Yet the aviation sector - one of the planet’s biggest emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2) - is trying to avoid making changes.  If it were a country, aviation would be the world’s seventh largest emitter. So the challenge to reduce its emissions is urgent. The response so far from the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has been to actually propose an increase in flying.

NGOs call for policy changes in the wake of Portugal’s forest fires

Five days after the deadly wildfires in Eucalyptus Plantations Pedrógão Grande in central Portugal claimed 64 lives, two leading forestry campaigning organisations, Quercus (based in Lisbon, Portugal) and Fern (based in Brussels, Belgium), call on the EU to examine how their policies and subsidies have driven the Portuguese plantation model.

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PDF iconPortugal climate fire_final.pdf362.46 KB

One step forward, two steps back for EU on climate and forests

Today, the European Parliament took one step forward and two steps back for the climate and forests.

Read the full Press Release

On a positive front, the Environment Committee voted to strengthen the EU’s climate target for the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) - which covers the agriculture, waste, buildings and transport sectors - by reducing the amount of ‘LULUCF offsets’ they had access to by 90 million tons of CO2.

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