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June 11, 2010: The logging loophole - some thoughts about this issue:

Before you read further, just have a look here:

''This is a massive loophole. All rich countries except Switzerland are now trying to avoid the consequences of increasing the harvesting of forestry.''

Rich countries led by Russia, Australia and the EU have been accused of trying to cheat their way out of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by creating "dishonest" forestry accounting loopholes.

EU MEMBER states and other developed countries have been accused of engaging in “creative accounting” to hide an estimated 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions every year – in their trees.


When talking about "being accused of carbon cheating..." you should consider some additional information on that issue:

For the sake of completeness think about this scenario:

There are countries which have taken care of their forests since decades. They have

  • grown their forest area
  • maintained their forests (these forests are healthy, they protect people against natural hazards, these forests provide a lots of water, ....)
  • grown their forest stock because they have logged below increment
  • grown their forest carbon stocks (below and above ground)

Forests of these countries had sunk a lot of CO2 since mid of last century.

But now some basic conditions are changing. Fossil fuels are identified to be a huge climate killer so it might be a good idea to raise the share of renewable fuels like wood. Additionally it seems to be a good idea to lower the carbon footprint of housing - the country starts to use more wood instead of concrete and steel for construction.

All this leads the country to higher consumption of wood which - of course - will be harvested from its perfectly maintained forests.

What is this country doing? It is just realizing its savings from the past. And it might release just a fraction of the CO2 volume, which has been stored in the forests during past decades. Carbon which was taken out of the atmosphere in former days.

Now think once again about this damned "logging loophole".

Is it fair to let such a country pay for its release of CO2 when harvesting wood saving of former days?

Is it fair to penalize such a country because it has stored a lot of carbon by the help of its forests and has therefore contributed substantially to climate protection in the past?

The main problem with all these topics around carbon and forests is that people hardly understand the importance of time frame. For REDD+ and deforestation the challenge is the forecast, for land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) the challenge is both, the retrospect and the forecast. People tend not to look back nor to look into the future. But when only realizing the present - you will always struggle on treating LULUCF and REDD+.

BTW - Austria is a perfect example of a country described above...


LULUCF: Post Kyoto - logging loophole for dummies


Blog | by Dr. Radut