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What are negative emissions?

Most proposals to limit global temperature rises to well below 2° Celsius rely on ‘negative emissions’ – the removal of carbon from the atmosphere.

This can be done naturally, such as by protecting and restoring degraded forests so they become carbon sinks. Some also claim that it can be done through geo-engineering, for instance by burning bioenergy, capturing the carbon released, and pumping it into underground geological reservoirs. This is known as Bioenergy, Carbon, Capture and Storage (BECCS).

Fern believes there are three main risks in relying on geo-engineering projects:

  1. They are used as an excuse to keep burning fossil fuels despite unproven benefits
  2. They will have unacceptable ecological and social impacts if used at an industrial scale
  3. They cannot ensure stored carbon is not released through human or natural forces, including climate change

For more information see the outcomes of a meeting Fern hosted on negative emissions.

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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