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Candide Cuttings: Woodland Cover and Climate Change

Published on 7th May 2019

Woodland Cover

A government report calls for a 4% increase in the UK's woodland in the next 30 years.

The Committee of Climate Change (CCC) has issued a report titled 'Net Zero: The UK's contribution to stopping global warming', in which they propose actions the government needs to take to fight climate change.

The main aim, according to the report, is to reduce carbon emission to zero by 2050.

The report mentions the benefits of woodland cover, which has been proven to help remove carbon from the air, reduce soil erosion and downstream flooding.

The report says that the current targets of 20,000 hectares of afforestation every year in the UK are not being met. 'Less than 10,000 hectares have been planted on average over the last five years' says the report.

To meet "the upper end" of sustainable energy goals "requires increasing tree planting rates and planting over 1 million hectares of land with energy crops (around 7% of the UK's current agricultural land)", it adds.

Earlier this week, Defra secretary Michael Gove commented on climate change targets, "I am open to a higher level of ambition for this government than we have seen in the past. We have got to take action and what I would like this government to be judged not what it proclaims but what it achieves, and there is much more that we need to do."

The committee says the goal is attainable with current technologies but only if clear, stable and well-designed policies are designed to reduce emissions.

Climate Emergency

At the same time, MPs have approved a motion to declare an environment and a climate emergency.

Jeremy Corbyn tabled the motion which demonstrates the will of the Commons, although it does not legally compel the government to act on it.

While there is no clear description of what a 'climate emergency' means, dozens of cities across England, as well as the Scottish and Welsh Government, have committed to reducing their carbon emission.

Mr Corbyn said: "This can set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe.

"We pledge to work as closely as possible with countries that are serious about ending the climate catastrophe and make clear to US President Donald Trump that he cannot ignore international agreements and action on the climate crisis."

Labour's motion also calls on the government to restore the UK's natural environment and deliver a 'zero waste economy' in the next six months.

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