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EU forests can’t help climate fight: study

October 11, 2018

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PARIS: Europe cannot rely on its forests to help ward off the effects of climate change, experts war­ned on Wednesday, calling instead for nations to protect their natural resources against the warming planet.

The world’s current roadmap to mitigate climate disaster encourages EU nations to use their forests to help suck greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.

But European scientists now say no approach to forest management complies with the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to limit global temperature rises to “well below” two degrees Celsius (36 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

They warn that attempts to use forests to store grea­ter amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases might have unexpected side effects — including darkening the Earth’s surface leading to higher surface temperatures — and that it would be better to protect woodland from climate change.

“The amount of carbon captured over the next 90 years by trees — around 2 parts per million (ppm) — would be low compared to the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere under the most likely scenario — 500 ppm,” said Guillaume Marie, a climate and environment scientist at the University of Paris-Saclay.

The report advised governments to focus efforts “to adapt the forest cover to future climate in order to sustain the provision of wood and ecological, social and cultural services” woodland provides “while avoiding positive climate feedbacks from fire, wind, pests and drought”.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2018