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Municipalities can contribute to the strengthening of carbon sinks

In Europe, the role of carbon sinks in mitigating climate change has become an issue in policy making. In the EU the Regulation on land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) addresses the role of sinks in mitigating climate change and emissions from land use. This policy brief focuses on the opportunities and challenges related to the strengthening of sinks in municipalities.

Katarina Axelsson / Published on 31 October 2023

Hildén, M., Pihlainen, S., Saikku, L., Axelsson, K., Aamas, B., Pedersen, A.B., & Sanderson, H. (2023). Municipalities can contribute to the strengthening of carbon sinks. Nordic Council of Ministers.

In forested countries such as Finland, Norway and Sweden, the maintenance of forest sinks has turned out to be politically challenging due to expectations in the development of forest-based industries and the hope that wood could replace fossil raw materials and fuels. In addition, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stressed that emissions caused by land use and land use change should also be addressed.

Policy instruments that would actively stop conversion of forest land to other uses or encourage landowners to maintain and develop carbon sinks or aim at reducing greenhouse gas emissions of land use are still under-developed. Municipalities and regional governments can, however, play an important role and become frontrunners in developing voluntary actions for the preservations of sinks. Municipalities can influence land-use in many ways and raise awareness of the role of sinks in setting up local climate targets and measures.

SEI author

Katarina Axelsson
Katarina Axelsson

Senior Policy Fellow

SEI Headquarters

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