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NEWS

13. 10. 2017

State Secretary Podgoršek at the session of the Environment Council

Luxembourg, 13 October 2017 – State Secretary mag. Marjan Podgoršek attended a session of the Environment Council in Luxembourg.

The discussion of the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry in the 2030 climate and energy framework took place at today’s session of the Environment Council. During the negotiations, the Republic of Slovenia continuously emphasised its support of the approach anticipating that the sector of land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF sector) also contributes to realising the objectives of the EU climate and energy policies until 2030 and thus to developing joint solutions and promoting global action to combat climate change. The Republic of Slovenia also pointed out that the methodology for calculating greenhouse gas sinks or emissions must be fair and observe the specific conditions in individual Member States.

 

The method for calculating sinks or emissions in forest management was essential for the Republic of Slovenia, since 60 per cent of the country is covered by woodland, whose sinks currently account for one third of all emissions in the country. The original proposal prepared by the European Commission was based exclusively on the assumption that the past intensity of forest management should be considered when calculating emissions or sinks. The 2000–2009 period was fixed as the reference period, when felling in the Republic of Slovenia was at one of its lowest levels. In the relevant period, a mere 37 per cent of forest growth was felled. The enforcement of such an approach would mean that every increase in felling over 3 million m3/year would result in calculated emissions. This methodology was unacceptable to Slovenia.

 

In the procedure for negotiating and supplementing the Proposal for a Regulation, Slovenia proposed numerous supplements, and advocated that the methodology for calculating sinks in forests must encourage sustainable and environment-friendly forest management and contribute to greater use of wood as an important renewable source in the development of a bio-economy. This is the only way to establish suitable long-term incentives for attaining the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

 

Slovenia supports the current compromise Proposal for a Regulation, since an agreement was reached on two key items referring to the calculation of carbon sink in forest management.

 

A compensation mechanism has been established, enabling countries to use certain amount of emission allowances or felling above the amount of the reference period which will not be calculated as emissions. Due to the exceptionally unfavourable position in the 2000–2009 period, Slovenia is placed in the group of countries which gain the most from this mechanism. But for Slovenia, it is even more important that we have achieved a modification in the method of determining the so-called reference value, which is no longer based only on the amount of past felling, but also takes into account the necessary increase in the intensity of forest management in order to ensure long-term stability and resilience. Maintaining low levels of felling could have serious long-term negative results for Slovenia, because the consequences of natural disasters would increase annually and be even more catastrophic with the ageing of forests. 

 

Significant progress in the compromise Proposal for a Regulation has also been made in the use of wood as an important factor affecting the reduction of carbon emissions. Total processing and use of wood without additional calculation restrictions is considered in national calculations of carbon sinks; the Regulation thus fully observes our national objectives of increased use of wood and supports investments in wood processing in the territory of the Republic of Slovenia.