The EU needs an ambitious strategy for reduced emissions

Photo: Smilla Frykholm Jordglob

To contribute to the UN’s sustainable development goals, the EU needs to strengthen its strategy for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Among other things, the EU needs to tackle the challenge of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and to incentivise a growing bioeconomy. These are the core messages from the Swedish Forest Industries Federation to the European Commission.

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, according to the recently published report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC). The report was released the same week as the deadline for contributions to the Commission's public consultation on the strategy for reducing greenhouse emissions by 2050.

The Commission's proposal for revised strategy is expected to be presented in time for the UN climate change conference, COP24, in Katowice this December, and is meant to define the EU's contribution to the UN goals. The Swedish Forest Industries Federation has submitted several contributions to the Commission.

"In addition to asserting our expectation that the Commission will aim for the most ambitious climate goal – expressed as a balance between emissions and removals of greenhouse gases – we also call for a clear political statement to incentivise a growing bio-based economy that can meet the global challenges we face. The strategy must emphasise stepping up initiatives for innovation and technological development of more, smarter bio-based products and solutions," says Anna Holmberg, Director of Energy Policy at the Swedish Forest Industries Federation.

"As a representative of an industry that offers many solutions to address climate change, we also stress the opportunities presented by active and sustainable forest management, the importance of replacing fossil-based products with bio-based ones and key measures for reducing emissions from the transportation sector through for instance streamlining and electrification."

The interpretation of the suggested goal, i.e. a balance between emissions and removals of greenhouse gases , needs further clarification by the Commission. The Swedish Forest Industries Federation recommends that the Commission defines the goal as net-zero emissions, in line with already existing definitions by the Swedish Environmental Objectives Council among others.

The EU adopted its current Low-carbon Economy Roadmap in 2011. The roadmap has since then served as an important basis for the Union's climate and energy policies and has heavily influenced the latest revision of the EU emissions trading system (ETS) and the newly adopted regulation for how land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities are to contribute to climate change mitigation.