We fully support the Commission's ambitious target to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
We share the Commission's insight that urgency is needed in climate change mitigation. Furthermore, we agree that the important transition we have ahead of us cannot be at the expense of EU industry competitiveness, instead it must be enhanced.
Create large climate benefit instantly
According to the strategy, one of seven main strategic building blocks essential to achieve net-zero emissions is to reap the full benefits of bioeconomy. To use sustainable biomass to produce products, which substitute carbon intensive materials, instantly creates a large climate benefit. In the in-depth analysis accompanying the strategy, it is defined that the use of wood products could reduce emissions by 1,5-3,5 tons of CO2 per ton of product. Moreover, a wood construction can store carbon for decades or centuries.
Dr Peter Holmgren: how productive forests and forest products can do a lot of good
The strategy concludes that active, sustainable forest management and afforestation are very important to mitigate climate change and reach the 2050 objective. Furthermore, forest management can supply ecosystem services such as biodiversity, reduced risk for erosion and flooding and contributes positively to water flows and water quality.
There is no room for free riders
To reach net-zero emissions by 2050, deep societal and economic transformations touching every sector of the economy are required. At the same time, the strategy defines carbon sinks in forests as a way to offset emissions from sectors with residual emissions.
On this item, the strategy is sending mixed messages, since it sounds as if some sectors of society can contribute much lesser than others. According to our opinion, every sector must contribute to the very best of its ability and there is no room for any free riders. It cannot be the task of the forest sector to store emissions that other sectors are not addressing.