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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

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.

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.

NGO Position on the post 2020 LULUCF regulation

LULUCF is a crucial pillar of the EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework, alongside the Emissions Trading System and the Effort Sharing Regulation. 

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.

PDF iconFocus on forests.pdf401.04 KB

Comment on COP22: The Paris Agreement - a forest and rights perspective

November 4, Brussels – The Paris Climate Agreement enters in to force today, less than a year after it was agreed. Such a rapid adoption indicates that there remains strong political will to tackle climate change. Fern’s analysis of the Agreement, called it an “historic moment and an achievement of international diplomacy”. We also warned that the net zero emissions target risked relying too much on the land use sector which could pose significant additional risks to forests, food security, and the land rights of vulnerable communities.

Going Negative - How carbon sinks could cost the Earth

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change was a landmark, which put the use of land-based sinks such as forests at the heart of the global blueprint for stemming global warming.

This raises two problems.

PDF iconGoing negative version 2.pdf3.04 MB