International Day of Forests: carbon certification, adaptation and carbon sink

24 March 2023 - Foreword of the week - By : Julia GRIMAULT

This week, for the International Day of Forests, I4CE offers you an overview of the forestry issues that are being debated in France and in Brussels. In our newsletter, you will discover a new blog post by Julia Grimault on European carbon certification and our latest analyses on the adaptation of French forests to climate change, the French carbon sink and the wood industry. 



Carbon certification: the unlikely alliance


The future European carbon certification framework is under intense debate. The first meeting of the expert group in charge of supporting the Commission has raised criticisms on the composition and mandate of this group, and the discussions have taken an unexpected turn by achieving the feat of bringing NGOs and CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) industrialists to an agreement against natural carbon sinks, those of our forests or our agricultural soils. Where does this unlikely alliance come from?


First of all, the uncertainty surrounding the purpose of this certification. Will it serve mainly to channel public funds? Or is it a tool for voluntary carbon offsetting by companies, or even for regulatory offsetting in the future European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (Eu ETS)? With the announcement of report to come on the possible integration of CO2 removals into the Eu ETS, it is easy to understand the concern of NGOs, which are always very critical of offsetting, for good reasons.


This concern – at least this is our hypothesis – leads them to be all the more vigilant about the quality of the future certification, especially our ability to correctly account CO2 removals in ecosystems, and to insist on the risks of non-permanence of carbon stored in forests or soils… just like the CCS industry.


Read the full blog post




Recommendations for an European Carbon Certification


To achieve the climate goals of the UE, The European Commission wants to create a carbon certification framework to encourage carbon storage in the land sector. The challenge is to develop a common and harmonised framework at the European level by better relying on the expertise acquired through existing certification frameworks. With this study, I4CE offers 7 recommendations, inspired by both our concrete experience with the French Label Bas-Carbone and by 15 years of research on carbon certification


Read this report




Adapting the French forest: first of all, invest well


Adapting French forests to climate change is becoming an important political issue. On one hand, because, from droughts to fires, the consequences of climate change on forest stands are becoming increasingly visible. On the other hand, adaptation is a prerequisite for forests to play the central role expected from them in climate mitigation. This study, only available in French, explains the financial and human resources needed to adapt French forests.


Read this report




Carbon sink: which wood products to focus on? 


There is a consensus that in order to become carbon neutral, France must develop the production and consumption of ‘long-life’ wood products, i.e. products such as timber frames or wood-based panels that can store carbon over time. I4CE has reviewed these products, the technical constraints on their production, and the possible outlets on the French market, and proposes initial avenues for developing these sectors. Report available in French. 


Read this report




This club, led by I4CE, brings together scientists, public decision-makers, experts, actors of the forestry sector and NGOs to discuss climate issues related to forests and the wood industry, and to develop common tools to promote the implementation of low-carbon projects.


More informations about this Climate club Forest and wood



Read the newsletter

To learn more
  • 12/02/2022 Foreword of the week
    European Carbon Certification must be demanding… and appealing

    How can we differentiate between projects that really enable carbon to be stored and those that only claim to do so? This is a complicated question when dealing with projects in agriculture and forestry, where quantifying carbon storage is complex, and where other environmental challenges, like the preservation of biodiversity, must also be taken into account. A complicated question, therefore, but one that needs an answer! Private actors and public authorities want to ensure that the agricultural and forestry projects financed in the name of the climate have a real environmental benefit.

  • 12/01/2022 Blog post
    Carbon certification: the Commission publishes a stringent certification framework that should also be appealing

    Yesterday, 30 november 2022, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a first EU-wide voluntary framework to reliably certify high-quality carbon removals. This proposal provides a framework, broad guiding principles, and the details will be specified in 2023 supported by an expert group on Carbon Removals. “The devil may be in the detail”, but the framing is no less important. Claudine Foucherot of [i4ce] has analysed it and identified four points on which we must be vigilant. Overall, it can be said that the Commission is submitting an ambitious proposal, which nevertheless presents a risk: not being sufficient incentives to ensure a massive deployment of certified projects.    

  • 07/08/2022 Op-ed
    Op-ed | Payment for carbon farming: we need an ambitious and pragmatic European certification

    The European Commission will propose a `carbon certification’ by the end of the year as a first step towards remunerating farmers and foresters who contribute to carbon farming. This certification project raises debates and concerns. For Adeline FAVREL of I4CE, the EU can respond and develop an ambitious certification by relying on the experience of the Member States in this field.

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