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Restoration of nature can remove up to 200 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere a year

“The 200 million tonnes are equivalent to the combined annual greenhouse gas emissions of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, or the emissions of Spain.”

Restoring degraded habitats in the European Union (EU), such as forests and wetlands, can remove up to 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere a year, according to a study released this Monday.

According to a study carried out by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) for the environmental organization “World Wide Fund for Nature” (WWF), the 200 million tonnes are equivalent to the combined annual emissions of greenhouse gases. from Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, or issues from Spain.

The results of the study demonstrate the enormous potential of the next EU Nature Restoration Law, which should be presented by the European Commission in March, for the mitigation of climate change, stresses in a statement the Associação Natureza Portugal (ANP), an associate in Portugal of WWF

Ângela Morgado, executive director of the ANP/WWF, considers, cited in the document, that the study proves that without forests, rivers, and “full and restored” marine environments, it is not possible to mitigate the effects of climate change or achieve carbon neutrality. “Increasing natural carbon sinks through nature restoration is fundamental and the next restoration law could be decisive if it presents an immediate and ambitious action, with restoration goals for the different ecosystems”, she says in the statement.

The study also states that a law on the restoration of degraded habitats covered by the Habitats Directive could be fundamental not only to address the loss of biodiversity but also to combat the climate crisis. The document’s conclusions point to the urgency of taking restoration measures because habitats take decades to improve and to restore the carbon cycle, so most of the efforts should happen by 2030 and not in 2040 or 2050.

In addition to underlining the importance of increasing efforts to protect habitats that have not yet been degraded, the study indicates that re-wetting drained organic soils currently used in agriculture could reduce emissions by more than 104 million tonnes per year, equivalent to the annual emissions of countries such as Austria or Romania.

The European Commission is preparing a law on the restoration of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems, which it should present in March. In the statement, the ANP/WWF gives good examples in terms of forest restoration, a project in Arganil, and another for ecological restoration of burned areas in Serra do Caldeirão.

The Portuguese association adds that there is much to be done, as in fulfilling the goal defined in the National Action Program – National Plan for the Integrated Management of Rural Fires, to restore 450 thousand hectares of burned areas by 2030. The IEEP (Institute for European Environmental Policy) ) is an independent organization of environmental policy studies, especially in Europe.

Source: with agencies

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