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A Brussels talking-shop operated by the EU has called for greater efforts by European countries to grow more trees, as this would remove carbon from the atmosphere and mitigate global warming.

The call was made in a statement headed "European Union should increase the use of wood", issued by the 344-member European Economic and Social Committee (EESC - "a bridge between Europe and organised civil society"). The EESC "is a consultative body that gives representatives of Europe's socio-occupational interest groups, and others, a formal platform to express their points of views ... the task of members is to issue opinions."

In this case it's the opinion of the EESC members that more forests in Europe would be a jolly good idea, as living trees take carbon out of the atmosphere while growing. Of course, once felled or otherwise dead, the carbon eventually returns to the air through decomposition: but an increase in living trees - bigger forests - does bring down atmospheric CO2 as long as it is sustained.

According to the EESC statement, addressed to the Member States and other EU authorities:

The Committee calls for specific measures to expand the use of wood, for a European committee of experts on forestry and the environment to be set up, and for every possible effort to be made to meet greenhouse gas reporting requirements. The EESC considers it important for the European Union to engage with its partners at the global level by playing a more active role in international forestry policy, and urges the Union to "take the lead in promoting sustainably managed forests worldwide".

It should be pretty easy to claim success on this one, as European forests are already growing faster than they are felled. ®

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