IPCC Refutes Claims of Anti-Forestry Activists, Supports Wood Biomass

In recent years, anti-forestry activist groups like the Dogwood Alliance and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) have effectively called for an end to forestry as an industry. But the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – widely considered the world’s leading authority on climate science – has consistently confirmed the important role of the timber and biomass industries. According to the IPCC, every pathway to keeping temperature increases under 1.5 degrees Celsius includes sustainable forestry and wood biomass.

On August 8, the IPCC released a Special Report on “Climate Change and Land,” focusing on the need for better land management worldwide, and how sustainable practices “can contribute to tackling climate change.”

The report once again debunks the false claims of groups like Dogwood and the EIP.

The report specifically highlights bioenergy as a necessary mitigation measure the world should employ in its effort to limit global warming to 1.5°C:

“Sustainable forest management can reduce the extent of forest conversion to non-forest uses. Sustainable forest management aimed at providing timber, fiber, biomass, non-timber resources, and other ecosystem functions and services, can lower GHG emissions and can contribute to adaptation. (high confidence).” (SPM B5.4, page 25)

All  assessed  modelled  pathways  that limit warming to 1.5ºC or well below 2°C require land-based mitigation and land-use change, with most including different combinations of reforestation, afforestation, reduced deforestation,  and  bioenergy.” (SPM B7, page 26)

“In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fiber, or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit,” the report explains. (Ch 4, 4.8.5, page 66)

Note the quotes in bold: According to the IPCC, “sustainable forest management” is part of the strategy to “lower GHG emissions” and mitigate climate change.

Indeed, support for sustainable forest management and a role for biomass in the fight against global climate change is now part of the broad scientific consensus, as represented by the gold-standard in global climate science, the IPCC.

According to the IPCC, this most recent report was prepared by 107 leading scientists from 52 countries around the world, who analyzed more than 7,000 academic papers. In total, their report was approved by the 195 countries who are members of the IPCC.

The question thus turns to anti-forestry activists like the Dogwood Alliance and the EIP: Why exactly do they reject the international scientific consensus on climate science?