EU 2040 climate target - what does it mean for forests?

22 février 2024

EU 2040 climate target - what does it mean for forests?

In February 2024, the European Commission issued its 2040 climate target Communication, which proposes to reduce net greenhouse gases (GHG) by 90 per cent compared to 1990 levels.

Several elements of the Communication will have serious implications for forests:

The gross target (overall ambition to reduce emissions). Our planet is already experiencing longer and stronger heat waves and droughts and more intense storms. A strong gross target is vital, as well as an adaptation plan to support foresters to increase their forests’ resilience.

Natural carbon removals target. Forests are the European Union (EU)’s most effective way of removing carbon dioxide (CO2). It is therefore essential to incentivise climate friendly forest management techniques.

Industrial carbon removals target. This target relies on Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) which would drive additional logging. The focus should therefore be on reduction and natural removals. 

Bioenergy. The Communication’s Impact Assessment assumes an unsustainable increase in bioenergy use. The EU must remove all incentives for bioenergy production and use.

The industrial meat sector. Farmed animals release high levels of methane and industrial animal farming is reliant on imported soy which is often grown on recently deforested land. This means that the target cannot be achieved without support for dietary change.

Reliance on raw materials for the green transition. To transform transportation requires batteries, and batteries requires the mining of materials which are often found under forests. The Commission should therefore prioritise public and soft transportation.

Climate neutrality diplomacy. To meet climate goals countries need to work together and agree fair and equal partnerships. All work towards climate goals should be agreed through multistakeholder processes.

This briefing considers each of these aspects and recommends actions that will support the climate, foresters, and wildlife.

Catégories: Reports, European forests

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