Forest restoration and tree-planting – What impact for climate change mitigation?
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The EU has adopted ambitious new targets to curb climate change, with a pledge to make them legally binding. Under a new law agreed in 2021 between Member States and the European Parliament, the bloc will cut carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. "Our political commitment to becoming the first climate neutral continent by 2050 is now also a legal one," said EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.
Globally, forests are our lungs and life-support system, covering 30% of the Earth’s land area and hosting 80% of its biodiversity. Forests and other wooded land cover more than 40% of Europe, making it one of the most forest-rich regions in the world. Their ecosystem contributes to our health and well-being through water regulation, the provision of food, medicines and materials, soil stabilisation and erosion control, and air and water purification.
Planting billions of trees across the world is one of the cheapest ways of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere to tackle the climate crisis, according to many scientists. New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions from human activities that remain in the atmosphere today.
Although planting new trees alone cannot solve climate change, when combined with well-thought out restoration of existing forests and reducing emissions, tree planting can play a significant role.
Join this EURACTIV Virtual Conference, following a summer of natural disasters in Europe, to discuss the joint impact forest restoration and tree-planting can have on climate change mitigation. Can a project like Life Terra, which aims to plant 500 million trees over 5 years, make a material difference? What lessons can be learnt from such projects and how can they be successfully replicated?
Life Terra is co-financed by the European Commission through the LIFE Programme (LIFE19 CCM/NL/001200).
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WATCH THE RECORDING HERE
Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director Natural Capital, DG Envi, European Commission
Ozlem Yildirim, Confederal Adviser to the General Confederation of Labour, EESC
Jytte Guteland MEP, Member ENVI Committee, European Parliament
Ville Niinisto MEP, Member ENVI and ITRE Committees, European Parliament
Sergiy Moroz, Policy Manager on Water and Biodiversity, European Environmental Bureau
Hélène Koch, Policy Advisor, Confederation of European Forest Owners
Sven Kallen, Founder and Secretary, Life Terra Foundation
Jennifer Baker, Journalist, EURACTIV
09:30 – 09:35 Welcome
09:35 – 09:50 Panellist statements
09:50 – 10:50 Discussion and Q&A
10:50 – 11:00 Closing statements
Leading lawmakers from the Socialist and the Greens group in the European Parliament held contrasting views on forest policy during a EURACTIV event earlier this month.