© Dan Cook
© Dan Cook

Climate proposals seen as inconsistent

Conservation partnership BirdLife Europe have expressed concern that an EU proposal could lead to unsustainable land use in the name of climate change mitigation.

By incentivising afforestation with no apparent environmental safeguards, the proposal on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) – designed to regulate emissions from transport, agriculture, waste, buildings, land use and forests after 2020 – exchanges one unsustainable use of land for another, according to a BirdLife press release.

The partnership has welcomed the proposal regarding the removal of ‘land guzzling’ (i.e. the continuous use of green space for commercial gain), but remains concerned about other, new incentives.

Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe said: “We need to take care of Nature’s carbon stocks and increase carbon removals in an environmentally sound way, while at the same time cut emissions in all other sectors. It is not a choice of one or the other. We cannot afford to continue with policies that increase emissions from land and forests with the excuse of climate change mitigation, such as current policies on bioenergy and biofuels.”

BirdLife Europe believes that stronger cross-sectoral efforts are required to enable the EU to meet its climate commitments as agreed during the COP21 summit held in Paris, France, in December.

The LULUCF proposal, according to BirdLife, is insufficient for the assurance that bioenergy use will reduce emissions. Strict measures, the partnership says, are needed in energy policies to guarantee biofuels sustainability.

BirdLife Europe is a partnership of nature conservation organisations in 47 countries, including all EU member states.

A letter to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, written by the organisation’s directors, can be read here.