Skip to Content

Forests and climate: Briefing note

Arctic Limits: How Finland’s forest policies threaten the Sámi and the climate

Finland is a test case in the fight against climate change. As the world edges closer to breaching the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rises below 2 degrees, forests have become increasingly important in discussions around how to battle climate change. Yet accounting for emissions from the forests sector is devilishly complex and riddled with loopholes. This briefing focusses on the case of Finland, Europe’s most heavily forested nation.

DocumentSize
PDF iconArctic Limits_Final.pdf1.77 MB

How to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? Focus on forests

In September 2015, world governments adopted an Agenda for Sustainable Development with 17 universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. The aims are noble and daunting – end all forms of poverty, fight inequality, address climate change, and ensure that no one is left behind. This leaflet explains why these goals cannot be met without changes to EU forest policy.

It is not enough to see forests as an ‘environment-only’ issue. Protecting forests and the communities that defend them is just as much about poverty eradication, food security, climate change, social justice and sustainable consumption and production patterns. Any EU response to the SDGs must therefore include the protection of forests and the recognition and promotion of the rights of those who live in them.

DocumentSize
PDF iconFocus on forests.pdf401.04 KB

Cheating the climate: the problems with aviation industry plans to offset emissions

The UN Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas does not cover emissions from international aviation. These are regulated by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which has been tasked with adopting a proposal to tackle emissions from international aviation.

Their proposal shows a terrifying like of ambition. This briefing shows that their suggestion of allowing the industry to grow indefinitely, merely introducing compulsory offsetting for growth in emissions from 2027 is fraught with problems. It focuses on the major risk that claimed reductions in emissions in general, and from deforestation in particular, will be counted twice.

Such double-counting would cheat the climate. The briefing is based on Who takes the Credit? REDD+ in a post-2020 UN climate agreement.

Why LULUCF cannot ensure that bioenergy reduces emissions

The European Commission is currently reviewing the sustainability of uses and sources of bioenergy for the period after 2020. They will also propose a new policy on how to include the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector in the EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework. This briefing note presents the problems of relying on LULUCF to ensure bioenergy reduces carbon emissions. It shows that the assumption that emissions from biomass harvests are fully accounted for in the LULUCF sector comes with large caveats. More importantly, the incentives and burden of proof should be put on the energy producer, rather than on the land sector.

The coalition recommends that:

  • the EU strengthens LULUCF policy, and adopts additional policy measures to ensure that bioenergy delivers robust greenhouse gas emission savings
  • the EU introduces a cap on the amount of bioenergy that can be counted towards 2030 renewable energy and climate targets
  • the EU legislates against the use of high risk biomass sources and introduces a minimum threshold for the efficiency of energy production systems

LULUCF: what would a good proposal look like?

As the ratification process for the Paris Climate Agreement begins, a new Fern briefing has shown how the EU’s new policy on land and forests could help it to be more ambitious on its climate change targets, and set a positive precedent globally by developing a separate pillar - with its own target - for the so-called LULUCF sector.

The briefing is based on a study produced for Fern by the Oeko-Institut, the environmental research institute. You can read the full report here.

The briefing includes Fern’s recommendations to the EU to decarbonise deeper and faster and to use land and forests to mitigate climate change to help it meet the Paris Agreement’s new, more ambitious target to limit global warming.

It also includes graphs, compiled by the Oeko-Institut, showing the historical and projected emissions and removals from LULUCF sector activities for the EU and each individual Member State.

DocumentSize
PDF iconLULUCF1.18 MB

What role should land and forests play in the Paris agreement?

A new briefing paper issued at the start of the Paris climate talks says that restoring degraded forests can meet the world’s need to remove emissions from the atmosphere, if fossil fuel emissions are simultaneously brought to zero by 2050, and that forest communities should play a central role in this restoration. The briefing, co-written by Fern with the Rainforest Foundation Norway and Friends of the Earth Norway, also rejects the need for dangerous carbon dioxide removal such as Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and large-scale plantations.

Read our press release on this briefing here.


 

Mending the circle – How the Circular Economy could work for forests

As the European Commission considers an ambitious strategy that can spur a circular economy in the EU, Fern has prepared a position paper on how to break the ‘take-make-use-dispose’ model in favour of one that re-uses, repairs, refurbishes and recycles – and outlines the role that forests can play.

DocumentSize
PDF iconbriefing_circular_economy254.71 KB

Pages

Most recent publications

Arctic Limits: How Finland’s forest policies threaten the Sámi and the climate

Finland is a test case in the fight against climate change. As the world edges closer to breaching the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rises below 2 degrees, forests have become increasingly important in discussions around how to battle climate change. Yet accounting for emissions from the forests sector is devilishly complex and riddled with loopholes.

DocumentSize
PDF iconArctic Limits_Final.pdf1.77 MB

Blog: Analysis of draft LULUCF reports

By Hannah Mowat

The recently-published draft reports of the Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) regulation give an indication of which direction the different committees’ rapporteurs would like to take the file. Here we offer a quick overview of the main highlights and lowlights:

Climate and the Sámi people threatened as Finland attempts to hide its forest emissions

Finland’s industrial logging is already threatening the climate and its indigenous Sámi people, and yet last year the Finnish government confirmed its intention to increase harvesting the country’s forests by

DocumentSize
PDF iconFinland PR_final.pdf481.6 KB

Biofuels are not a way to decarbonise aviation

This letter to Commissioner Bulc explains why NGOs are concerned about his statement that “Biofuels are the ‘best choice’ at this point to start to decarbonize the industry”. Relying on large-scale biofuel cultivation leads to more environmental damage. The only way Europe’s aviation policy can help meet Paris Agreement goals is to focus on reducing demand.

Fern’s response to the draft Effort Sharing Regulation Rapporteur’s report

This press release outlines why Fern believes the Effort Sharing Regulation Rapporteur's draft report on greenhouse gas emission targets for Member States improves the Commission’s Effort Sharing Regulation proposal, and why it should go further.

DocumentSize
PDF iconESR rapporteur report_final.pdf346.3 KB

Open letter condemning the clear-cutting of the Hambacher Forest

For more than 12,000 years the Hambacher forest has stood in North West Germany. It is home to iconic and endangered species, such as the iconic Lily of the Valley, the Agile Frog and the Dormouse.

Pages