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Parliamentary questions
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11 February 2021
Question for written answer  E-000866/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Alexander Bernhuber (PPE)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Commission’s report on the state of nature – technical assessment by the European Environment Agency

The Commission’s report on the state of nature in the European Union (COM(2020)0635) says that its analysis is underpinned by a detailed technical assessment by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

The EEA report uses two sources as the basis for its conclusion that ‘current studies suggest that these harvesting activities lead not only to a decline in forest area but also to potentially a more than 20 % reduction in their capacity for carbon sequestration’. This is despite the recast Renewable Energy Directive sustainability criteria which ensure that bioenergy activities may only legally continue if ‘harvesting maintains or improves the long-term production capacity of the forest’.

1. Is the Commission aware that the quoted report’s key argument focuses on the controversial theory that there is double accounting of biomass, which goes against the internationally recognised accounting rules of the UNFCCC?

2. The EEA report references the calculation made by FERN in its news release on the LULUCF national accounting plans, claiming that Member States plan to reduce their forests’ capacity to sequester carbon by 20 %. Does the Commission agree with FERN’s belief that forest management will actually lead to European forests absorbing less carbon dioxide?

3. Did the EEA report also take into account studies that show that forest growth and increased carbon sequestration are prevalent where active forest management and bioenergy activities have also been present?

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