The European woodworking industries salute the work of the European Commission and the Parliament to approve the report1 on the accounting rules and national plans for emissions resulting from land use and land use change from agricultural and forest activities, better known for its acronym LULUCF.
The new rules open the way not only to improve the carbon accounts, but also to include in these accounts the pool of wood products in use in each Member State, by acknowledging that wood, until the end of its useful life, continues storing the CO2 the trees absorbed during their growth.
Ladislaus Döry, President of the European Panel Federation (EPF2) stated that “Europe will be more inclined to use nature’s recipe for carbon storage: Use more wood! The industry is continuously supplying innovative wood products in the Member States. We expect that the new LULUCF rules will prompt governments to support the sector concretely, for example by encouraging the replacement of more energy-intensive materials for wood in new construction and renovation”.
Immediately after the vote in Plenary in Strasbourg, MEP Gaston Franco, Chairman of the Club du Bois, stated “on behalf of the European Parliament, I am asking the Council to accept amendments introduced by the Parliament because they will allow for the creation of even more solid rules for LULUCF. This way, the accounting rules will include the useful role of wood and wood products in the storage of greenhouse gases”.
Mr Franco added: “to implement these rules, the European Union is counting on its Member States to develop national rules and action plans concerning the LULUCF. This way they will contribute to increase the storage of carbon in wood products. We must not forget that every cubic meter of wood stores close to 1 cubic ton of CO2, and this without counting the CO2 saved by replacing other, more energy-intensive materials”.
The new LULUCF rules finally correct the aberration introduced by the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 when it was decided that, whenever a tree was cut, the CO2 returned to the atmosphere at once. Decades later, it is acknowledged that the CO2 in fact stays in the harvested wood product until the end of its useful life. Then, and not earlier, is when wood plays a role as a renewable energy source.
The European wood and panel industries will continue working along the EU policy-makers in the development of the concrete application of these new rules.