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COPENHAGEN — France clashed with other EU nations Thursday over how to calculate carbon emissions absorbed and emitted by forests, a key component of a climate deal (called LULUCF - Land use, Land use change and Forestry) being hammered out at UN talks in Copenhagen.

French climate ambassador Brice Lalonde slammed a proposal favoured by countries with huge forestry industries -- especially Finland, Sweden and Austria -- as containing "sloppy, even fraudulent" accounting methods.

Worldwide, deforestation and forest fires account for 12 to 20 percent of total greenhouse gas output, so being able to accurately measure changes in those emissions is critical in the overall effort to tame global warming.

How that is best done is what has divided the EU bloc of 27 nations.

France has taken the lead in calling for a totally transparent accounting practices, a position applauded by green groups.

But other countries, notably major consumers of wood as a heating fuel, have proposed to project generous envelopes of their forest-related emissions up to 2020, which they would then promise not to use up.

"We are talking about ceilings that are so high that there is no chance they would ever be reached," Lalonde told AFP.

These countries would then claim that they had, in fact, reduced their total emissions as measured against this fictive benchmark, he explained.

Across the entire 27-nation bloc, this would result in a net addition of some 118 million tonnes of CO2 released every year, two percent of the EU total.

"The EU cannot embrace fraudulent methods and then turn around and ask developed countries to accept something that they are not willing to impose on themselves," Lalonde said.

The question was still being debated, and was likely to come up again Thursday during a meeting of European heads of state in Brussels.


Issued by:  AFP



Issue date: December 10, 2009

Link to Article: Origin of this text


Extpub | by Dr. Radut