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Lungs of the Earth – forest policies for health and climate

 

“How can forests help the EU meet its climate, energy and clean air objectives?” This was a key question discussed on 28 September 2017 at an event looking at current and future forest-related policies. It was hosted by MEPs Paul Brannen (S&D) and Benedek Jávor (Greens) on behalf of Fern and Birdlife Europe.

The event brought together policy officers and key decision-makers from the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament working on the Clean Energy Package and the LULUCF Regulation, as well as stakeholders from forestry and wood-working industries, NGOs, and academics.

Speakers’ presentations looked at the important links between forests, climate and health.

Jaana Bäck and William Gillet presented the main messages of Multi-functionality and Sustainability in the European Union's Forests a report published in May by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC). The report provides an excellent starting point for a discussion about how European climate and energy policies affect forests.

Carlo Calfapietra explained trees’ role in cleaning our air and described the pollution associated with burning biomass.

Professor Jaana Bäck, University of Helsinki, Chair of the expert group of the EASAC report - The climate impacts of EU's multifunctional forests.

 

Director William Gillet, EASAC Energy Programme - How to build climate and energy policy that addresses multiple targets for forests?

Carlo Calfapietra, senior researcher at the Italian National Reasearch Council, Institute of Agro Environmental & Forest Biology (IBAF) - The effect of forest ecosystems and biomass combustion on air quality

 

European forests play a diverse role: they are central to climate change mitigation, provide important habitats for species, have a significant social role, contribute to human wellbeing, are used as a material for numerous purposes and clean the air we breathe. European policy-makers must therefore deliver renewable energy and climate policies which allow forests to fulfil all these important roles.