Why we talk about a fossil-free EU, not a carbon-free one

By Confederation of European Paper Industries
September 4, 2023
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Discourse on the transition to net zero invariably focuses on reducing carbon. But this is too simplistic. A circular economy is not carbon-free: carbon is embedded in its products. And that is good for the climate. Plants perform photosynthesis, meaning that they sequestrate and store carbon while producing and maintaining our planet’s oxygen. What’s more, the climate benefits of forests go beyond carbon sequestration to include the carbon storage and substitution effects linked to forest-based products used in a host of applications, including construction, furniture, packaging, textiles and others. In short, what is referred to as the ‘circular bioeconomy’ is not carbon-free: carbon is embedded in its products. …Forests must not be the way to offset emissions from ‘hard-to-decarbonise’ sectors – as is currently suggested by the EU climate law. …There is a real risk of failing the overall ambition to defossilise the European economy by over-relying on forest sinks.

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