Finnish parliamentary lobbying to amend a climate change directive and allow more logging was successful on Wednesday in Strasbourg, the public broadcaster yle reports.
The Land Use Change and forestry regulation directive initially envisaged a cap to the use of forestry to the levels reached from 1990 to 2009. The objective was to create a long term repository for carbon, so as to neutralize emissions.
Europe’s forests absorb 10% of Europe’s carbon emissions every year.
The amendment introduced on Wednesday provides a more flexible approach to logging, allowing an increase in commercial activity so long as the forests’ carbon storing ability remains the same or grows by 2050.
The Finnish Green Party has rejected the amendment as a “setback” in the fight against climate change. The EU’s Council of Ministers is likely to approve Wednesday’s vote and amend the directive in October.
Finland in recent years is breaking every record in logging and plans to increase production by 23% by 2030.
Last year (2015-2016) Finland logged 58.5 million cubic metres of roundwood removed from its forests for commercial use, that is, 12% than the past decade average. 60 million cubic metres is equivalent to 100 million trees or 1,500 square kilometres of land area.
In a public statement published in March 2017, 68 Finnish environmental scientists warned their government that its policy decreases the ability of forests to cool the climate and increases emissions. However, caught in a negative spiral of unemployment and recession, Finland is banking on this traditional sector to boost its economy.