More forests 'would cut EU emissions'

A A A

International action on deforestation is needed to tackle climate change, ministers warned as new research showed that expanding Europe's forests could help meet EU targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Gareth Thomas, the trade and development minister, warned that global warming could not be halted without reversing the destruction of the world's forests.

Deforestation accounts for 20 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, and Mr Thomas warned that ministers meeting in Bali to negotiate an agreement on climate change should include action on deforestation.

Mr Thomas said: "I call on governments to unite over the next fortnight in Bali to start designing an effective future climate change deal that includes action on deforestation."

He insisted that a deal on deforestation must include the countries which contain huge natural forests. Mr Thomas said: "Policies on deforestation should be shaped and led by the nations where forests are, which is why it's so important that action on deforestation is part of the next climate deal struck through the UN process. Developing countries, especially those which have large areas of natural forest, must be part of any climate change deal for it to succeed. As the Stern report on the economics of climate change made clear, better governance is fundamental if we are to avoid the negative impacts of deforestation."

Yesterday research from the University of Helsinki said that increasing European forestry could be essential to meet EU targets to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.

They warned that forests would be needed as "carbon sinks" to absorb CO2 and supplement new technology, energy efficiency and moves to renewable power.

Academics found that increases in tree planting in 27 European countries absorbed an extra 126 million tonnes of carbon between 1990 and 2005, the equivalent of 11 per cent of European emissions. The researchers, writing in the journal Energy Policy, said that carbon credits could be issued to encourage forest expansion and could play a decisive role in cutting European greenhouse gas emissions.

Professor Pekka Kauppi, one of the authors of the study, said forests were absorbing carbon at more than twice the rate previously thought.

He said: "The good news is that trees are extremely efficient mechanisms for capturing and storing carbon. The better news is that Europe's forests are thriving and expanding and therefore will play an increasingly important role in helping the EU to reach its environmental goals."

A spokesman for Greenpeace welcomed action to reduce deforestation, but warned it was not a substitute for reducing emissions from energy consumption.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration Engineer

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: These refrigeration specialists...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Logistics and Supply Chain

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an operational role and...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Sheet Metal Worker / Fabricator

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working within the workshop of ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line IT Support Engineer

£20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist high tech compa...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral