Climate policy targets: how can European forests contribute?

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21 will be held in Paris, France from 30 November to 11 December 2015. The conference objective is to achieve a legally binding global climate agreement.

In earlier COP negotiations, the importance of forests in mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration has been well acknowledged, and forest issues have played an important role in the negotiations. However, the full potential of the whole forest-based sector to contribute to the climate negotiation and policy targets has not yet been fully acknowledged.

In particular, the forest-based sector can play an important role in achieving the policy targets through being an essential contributor to bioeconomy or low carbon economy.

The energy- and construction industries and transportation sector are responsible for the major share of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe and in many other regions of the world. To a large extent these sectors are still heavily based on fossil-based raw materials, or production processes that use fossil-based energy. Transitioning to new energy, construction and transportation systems lies at the core of any response to climate change. New low carbon energy sources, low carbon construction, building and living practices, and low carbon transportation need to be deployed.

The forest-based sector can help to contribute to solutions to all these targets through the bioeconomy – by substitution of fossil-based raw materials and products with renewable forest biomass-based low carbon raw materials and products.

The forest-based sector cannot provide complete answers to climate policy targets, but it can be essential part of the solution. Moreover, it can provide this solution in a way that makes our energy systems resilient to the effects of climate change, sustain prosperity and jobs in many countries and regions, in particular in rural areas.

The Climate policy targets: How can European forests contribute? conference organized by European Forest Institute will develop and advance knowledge and partnerships that focus on transitioning Europe and the world to a new low carbon and climate resilient energy, construction and transportation system. It focuses on putting science into action – how we can move forward on policy and practice to effect this transition.

Useful links

UNFCCC: Paris Climate Change Conference - November 2015 

Government of France:

The Guardian: Everything you need to know about the Paris climate summit and UN talks