Baroness Smith question Tories over woods from the trees

Baroness Smith has questioned the Tories over a number of environmental concerns.

Q1. To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the contribution of forestry land in the United Kingdom to reducing emissions and tackling climate change.

A. Lord Marland (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Energy and Climate Change; Conservative)

We estimate that in 2008 UK forest land removed from the atmosphere the equivalent of about 15.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide compared with about 13.8 million tonnes in 1990. These numbers include carbon stored in wood products from harvest, and are equivalent respectively to about 2.4 per cent and 1.8 per cent of total UK greenhouse gas emissions in the same years.

The Read report commissioned by the Forestry Commission GB suggests that if woodland cover was to increase from 12 per cent to 16 per cent of land cover, abatement from woodlands planted since 1990 would, potentially, amount to 15Mt CO2 per year by the 2050s; this would be equivalent to 10 per cent of the UK’s total GHGs emissions at that time, if current reduction targets are met. The abatement that could be achieved is highly sensitive to the level and timing of woodland creation and would be delivered through a combination of sequestration in forest biomass and wood products, renewable energy production and wood products displacing more carbon-intensive materials such as brick, steel and concrete.

2. To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they are seeking at the 2010 Climate Change Conference at Cancun regarding measures to reduce emissions from deforestation.

A. Lord Marland (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Energy and Climate Change; Conservative)
In order to reduce emissions from forests in developing countries the UK will be seeking an agreement at Cancun on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), as part of a balanced package of decisions. In particular, we will be seeking a high level goal for reducing deforestation, agreement to a REDD+ mechanism, the establishment of technical work programmes to operationalise it and, appropriate safeguards for people and biodiversity.

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