It is important that we recognise the role of forests in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. A growing forest stores carbon. Furthermore, forest raw materials can replace fossil-based products and services.
In 2014, the EU agreed on a commitment to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by an amount equating to at least 40 per cent of the EU's emissions in 1990. This undertaking was also the EU's joint contribution to the 2015 climate convention conference in Paris. In July 2015, the EU commission presented its proposal on how the emissions trading system (ETS) in Europe should be reformed as of 2021. The next proposal came in July 2016. It sets out the allocation of responsibilities between the EU member states as regards emissions outside the ETS. It also includes a number of "flexibility mechanisms" that provide possibilities for equalising the differences in the conditions prevalent in each country.
The target proposed for Sweden is a 40 per cent reduction. Sweden and Luxembourg have the highest goals. The report recently presented by the "Environmental Objectives Committee" of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency proposes reduction by 58 per cent for the same period as that in EU proposals.
As a strategic and ambitious climate policy can drive growth of the world's bioeconomy, the Swedish Forest Industries Federation is positive towards the climate goals proposed for the EU and Sweden. It is important that we nurture the role of forests in climate improvement. This role is as a carbon store and as a raw material that replaces fossil-based products and services.
Replacing oil-based products (e.g. petrol) with renewable fuels reduces emissions. In this connection, it is important to point out that the Swedish Forest Industries Federation does not want to see a move towards "carbon forestry" aimed at setting aside forests as carbon sinks. A policy that stimulates both the storing of carbon in products and the replacement of greenhouse gas intensive products is far to be preferred.
In general, the Swedish Forest Industries Federation would like the EU's climate policy to promote the measures that, from environmental and financial perspectives, are most cost-efficient.