June 8, 2016 / 3:40 PM / 3 years ago

EU politicians say no to forests as easy option for curbing emissions

Smoke billows from the chimneys of Belchatow Power Station, Europe's biggest coal-fired power plant, in this May 7, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Peter Andrews/Files

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Seven political groups in the European Parliament on Wednesday called on the European Commission to prevent nations such as a Poland using forests to try to escape from cutting emissions in other areas.

Following the Paris climate change agreement in December last year, the European Union is about to begin what is expected to be a fierce debate on how to cut emissions across the 28-member bloc.

Poland, which is heavily reliant on coal, has been promoting the idea of climate neutrality, rather than decarbonisation and has said its forests can be used to offset emissions from other sectors.

A letter to the European Commission, signed by environment spokesman in the Parliament from seven groups, calls on the EU executive to make sure a draft law, expected in July, ensures “real world delivery” of the Paris Agreement.

Dated June 8, the letter criticizes the idea backed by Finland and Ireland, as well as Poland, that forestry credits could offset other emissions.

It wants forestry to be accounted for separately to ensure trees remain as carbon sinks and it also wants regular emissions accounting checks — at least every two years — to check countries are delivering.

The draft law will divide the work among member states of reducing emissions outside the sectors regulated by the Emissions Trading Scheme — in total 60 percent of all EU emissions.

Reporting by Barbara Lewis; additional reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko in Warsaw. Editing by Jane Merriman

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