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Sustainable Forest Biomass in light of COP21 Paris

December 1, 2016 @ 08:30 - 11:00

Details

Date:
December 1, 2016
Time:
08:30 - 11:00
Event Category:

Venue

European Parliament
Place du Luxembourg, Brussels,
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Organizer

EP Intergroup CCBSD

The role of forests and woody biomass within the EU policy framework on climate and energy was discussed at the European Parliament at the Intergroup Conference “Sustainable forest biomass in the light of COP21 (Paris)” on 1 December 2016. The event was held one day after the European Commission’s publication of the recap of the Renewable Energy Directive proposal. The conference provided the opportunity for high-level policy makers from the European Parliament and Commission, representatives of state forest  management organizations, the scientific community and other stakeholders to provide their views on the potential of sustainably managed European forests and forest-based products to be at the core of the EU climate change and energy agenda following the Paris Agreement.

The  event  was  co-hosted  by  MEP  Pavel  Poc  (CZ,  S&D),  Chair  of  the  European  Parliament Intergroup  on  “Climate  Change,  Biodiversity  and  Sustainable  Development”  and  MEP  Jytte Guteland  (SE,  S&D),  Member  of  the  Committee  of  Environment,  Public  Health  and  Food Safety.  Opening the conference, MEP Pavel Poc stated that “forests are not only about the production of wood. Their role is broader, including various societal functions,  and they are also  an  important  climate  regulator  and  source  of  biodiversity.  We must keep this in mind during any legislative process on both European and national levels. Every legislation which can  directly  or  indirectly  impact  forest  management  also  impacts  forest  as  one  of  the defining  elements  of  the  European  landscape  and  as  one  of  the key pillars  of  our planet’s ecosystem sustainability. Without exaggeration, our forest management represents our caring for the future of this planet.” MEP Jytte Guteland focused on the key role played by forests “in combating climate change and transitioning to a sustainable and decarbonized society. Europe needs to unlock our forests’ great potential to provide renewable, bio-based materials and energy in order to reach our climate and energy targets. Through sustainable and flexible solutions, we now have the chance to create real green jobs and innovation while also delivering on the climate. It will be important to ensure enough flexibility for national circumstances so that we can continue to build on existing knowledge and best practices.”

Per-Olof Wedin (President of the European State Forest Association EUSTAFOR), emphasized that “care needs to be taken that the policies currently under development do not create negative or perverse results, not only for forests and the forest-based sector themselves, but also for their potential contribution to the post-2020 climate and energy targets.

Phil Hogan (European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development)  addressed the participants  via  a  short  video  message  in  which  he  underlined that  “forestry  remains  a  key sector  for  a low-carbon  and climate-friendly economy.  The development of forest biomass has  a  huge  potential  as  we  expand  the  European  bioeconomy;  it  needs  to  be  done  in  a smart  and  sustainable  way.”  Giulio  Volpi  (DG  ENER,  European  Commission)  delivered  a keynote  speech  in  which  he  recalled  that  “bioenergy  plays  a  key  role  in  the European renewable  energy  mix  and  has  many  benefits  in  terms  of  employment  and  economic development  in  rural  areas,  energy  security  and  grid  balancing,  climate  protection  and innovation. Bioenergy production  and  use  can  also  be  associated  to  a number of environmental challenges which need to be correctly managed both at EU and  Member State level. That is why the European Commission has proposed to strengthen the EU bioenergy sustainability criteria.” Andrea Vettori (DG ENV, European Commission)  reflected on  how  sustainable  forest  management  is  important  for  climate  change  mitigation  and adaptation, the preservation of the diversity of forests among Europe and the richness of their biodiversity. He also recognized public forest managers as an essential “link between public authorities and real action on the ground.”

Marcus Lindner (European Forest Institute) presented the results of the latest From Science to Policy report “Forest Biomass, Carbon Neutrality and Climate Change Mitigation” which he co-authored. He stated that “there is a high risk of failing to meet long-term climate targets without bioenergy.”

Representatives from  State  Forest  Management  Organizations followed  with  concrete  examples  of  how  state  forests promote  sustainable  forest management and the greater utilization of wood, especially to substitute for other resources and  products  which  are  detrimental  to  the  climate. Specifically, presentations were held by Olof Johansson (Sveaskog, Sweden), Daniel Szórád (CEO, Lesy České Republiky), Pentti Hyttinen (CEO, Metsähallitus, Finland) and Roland Kautz (Österreichische Bundesforste, Austria), showcasing national and regional differences along with the various environmental challenges faced. It was further stressed that there is no one size fits all underlining the importance of flexibility and promoting local solutions.

If you missed the event you can webstream it here