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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

Return of the trees

By Fred Pearce

To have a fair chance of limiting global temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius, it will be necessary to remove at least 500 billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. The best way to do this is to work with local communities to restore degraded forest ecosystems. As this report shows, this is entirely possible. 

It must, however, go hand in hand with halting forest loss and reducing fossil fuel consumption. Not instead of. Governments around the world have made pledges such as the Bonn Challenge to support restoration and reforestation projects, but even if the Bonn challenge is successful it would only remove 50 billion tonnes, 10 per cent of what is needed.

Community-led forest restoration helps fight climate change

December 19, 2017 (Brussels) - Restoring natural biologically diverse forests could remove 500 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, making a significant impact in the fight agai

PDF iconReturn of the Trees PR.pdf114.48 KB

How the Fiji UN climate summit affects forests

Kate Dooley was in Bonn, tracking the developments in the UN climate summit. She has written this overview of the talks from a forests perspective for Fern. 

PDF iconComment COP23.pdf1.17 MB

While climate change wreaks havoc, airlines hide plans to double emissions behind a widely discredited scheme.

By Julia Christian

In Bonn last month delegates from around the world discussed how to implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement  – which aims to tackle the greatest threat currently facing the planet.

At exactly the same time almost 6,000 kilometres away in Montreal, representatives from the global aviation industry were hell-bent on undermining the Agreement’s aims.

The absurd scenario simultaneously playing out in different meeting rooms on different continents can be traced back to the 1997 climate talks in Kyoto.

Unearned credit: Why aviation industry forest offsets are doomed to fail

Unlike other sectors, international aviation is not included in 2015’s Paris Agreement. This has allowed aviation to lag behind other sectors when it comes to reducing emissions.

PDF iconfern_unearned credit.pdf1.88 MB

Airlines’ ‘action’ on climate change means doubling emissions

This press release exposes the flaws in the airline industry’s plans to offset its carbon emissions. It is also available in German.

PDF iconICAO final.pdf467.91 KB
PDF iconICAO Fern PR_DE.pdf585.14 KB