The European Parliament today voted in favour of a legislative proposal, land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF), which will contribute to fighting climate change. The proposal, under which Member States have to ensure a balance of CO2 emissions and absorptions in the sector, is part of the climate package presented by the European Commission in July 2016 and is in line with what Member States agreed on within the Paris Agreement.
“It is all about the right balance”, said the lead negotiator for the dossier, Norbert Lins MEP, welcoming the crucial compromise achieved within his Report. “I do not want to put forests in a glass case. Forests need to be managed in a sustainable and active way providing timber for our bio economy and climate change mitigation”, he stressed.
One of the most disputed parts of the Report was an introduction of a model which compares future forest CO2 absorption to a historical value. In practice, this refers to calculating which years of forest management, the so-called ‘forest reference level’, should be taken into consideration when comparing emissions against absorptions.
Lins explained that according to the compromise reached between political groups, the ‘forest reference level’ will therefore be calculated based on data collected from 2000 to 2012 and a conditioned flexibility in harvesting. The EPP Group believes that this compromise can ensure continuing active forest management in the future while, for comparison, the Commission thought that between 1990 and 2009 were considered more appropriate.
“We should keep in mind that since we will not be able to completely stop our greenhouse gas emissions in industry but need to reduce them drastically, our forests need to remove more than they emit. In this respect, the great performance of land use, land use change and forestry is fundamental and absolutely positive”, concluded Lins, once more calling upon the Council to reach a quick common position.