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Difference on sustainable forest consumption widens

19 Feb 2019, 01:38 ( 3 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Photo VisitFinland by Vastavalo/Timo Vuoriainen.

National debate about the sustainable level of using the Finnish forest reserves intensified on Monday as the scientific Finnish Climate Panel warned against the plan to increase the consumption of wood.

In an appraisal, the panel said that the current level has already endangered the carbon sink that helps curb the global warming.

The Climate Panel is an interdisciplinary consultative group of 14 scientists appointed by the government for four years at a time. The current group began in 2016. 

In its report issued on Monday, the panel did not share the views of the Finnish Natural Resources Institute which accept an increase from the current level.

The government has largely relied on the Institute's views in backing a wider use.

The climate panel has tested several forest growth patterns, national broadcaster Yle reported.

The Finnish Natural Resources Institute supports the view that forests can be cut down and preserved at the same time. In the rest of the patterns, increased consumption would restrict the carbon sink for decades.

The Finnish climate panel said that political decision makers would be wise to use the forest as a tool to decrease emissions fast.

Among its target levels, the panel gave the alternative to reduce the consumption to 40 million cubic meters per year. This is a half of the current level. This would be a return to the level of the early 1990s. In that way Finland would reach as fast as possible a situation where the emissions are smaller than the sinks, the panel noted.

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä last month endorsed additional cut-down of the trees. He used the calculation of the Natural Resources Institute as justification.

Meanwhile, the National Forest Council, a body under the government, has not taken steps to increase the consumption. In its latest strategy from December 2018, it kept the planned level at 80 million cubic meters per year until 2025.