German agriculture minister proposes climate action payments to forest owners
Clean Energy Wire
German agriculture minister Julia Klöckner has presented a model for financially rewarding forest owners for their part in protecting the climate. Part of this model would be a payment for forests with sustainability certification. Those who increase the CO2 storage capacity of the forest through further measures or ensure that their harvested wood is used in durable wood products are to receive a bonus. “If we put a price on CO2 emissions, then we must also support those who preserve, care for and manage our forests as key climate actors,” said Klöckner. The ministry said it is in talks with the European Commission to deal with state aid related questions of the proposed model.
The idea to financially reward forest owners for their contribution to climate action is not new. Lawmakers had called for a model earlier this year. Climate action advocates have stressed the need for carbon sink and storage strategy in Europe and Germany. Extreme weather events in Germany have hit the forestry sector hard, resulting in damages of 13 billion euros over the past three years, according to a recent report by the German Forestry Council (DFWR), which represents the country’s forestry industry. Another report showed that four out of five trees have thinning crowns, and around a third of trees are experiencing significant thinning. The agriculture ministry’s Forest Condition Report 2020, which was published in February, showed that more surveyed trees died in 2020 than in any previous year.