24 Aug 2021, 13:43
Edgar Meza

Climate protection role of German forests underestimated – report

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s forests can provide the annual sink capacity needed to achieve negative emission targets under Germany’s Climate Action Law, according to a new report by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) that contradicts a recent statement by the federal food and agriculture ministry’s Scientific Advisory Board on Forest Policy. The advisory group questioned the annual sink capacity of 25 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030 and 40 million tonnes of CO2 by 2045, as detailed in the law. The Öko-Institut says, those findings underestimate the future ability of Germany’s forests to permanently store carbon. The Scientific Advisory Board’s projections are based on outdated data, leading to incorrect assumptions and to “inadequate political conclusions”, the research group adds. The Öko-Institut used historical data from the National Forest Inventory as well as the government’s latest greenhouse gas figures in its analysis, which found that the gap between the required sink performance needed to achieve the emission reduction targets in the Climate Action Law and the real performance of natural land was around 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. That gap, however, can shrink to just 3 million tonnes if forests are managed sustainably, moors are rewetted, and humus layers are built up on farmland.

Germany’s recently amended Climate Action Law lists natural carbon sinks, such as forests and peatlands, as vital in achieving negative emissions on Germany's path to climate neutrality.

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