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Is forest sequestration at the expense of bioenergy and forest products cost-effective in EU climate policy to 2050?




Forest management affects the quantity of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere by carbon sequestration in standing biomass, carbon storage in forest products and production of bioenergy that replace fossil fuels. The main question in this paper is whether forest sequestration is worth increasing at the expense of bioenergy and forest products to achieve EU’s emission reduction target to 2050 cost-effectively. The assessment is based on numerical calculations using a dynamic, partial equilibrium model of cost-effective solutions, where three abatement methods in the forest sector are included together with abatement in the fossil fuel sector. The results show that forest sequestration in standing biomass is cost-effective compared to bioenergy. When sequestration is taken into account, net present costs for meeting EU carbon targets can be reduced by 18%. This is achieved through an increase in annual carbon sequestration by 30-158 million ton CO2. The overall cost of reaching the 80 per cent carbon reduction target amounts to 2,002 billion Euros when sequestration is included in the policy, but increases to 2,371 billion Euros without sequestration. Results suggest that forests can serve as a cost-efficient carbon sink over the considered time period.

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  • Munnich Vass, Miriam & Elofsson, Katarina, 2013. "Is forest sequestration at the expense of bioenergy and forest products cost-effective in EU climate policy to 2050?," Working Paper Series 2013:9, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:slueko:2013_009 Note: The paper can be downloaded from the following website:

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gren, Ing-Marie & Carlsson, Mattias & Elofsson, Katarina & Munnich, Miriam, 2012. "Stochastic carbon sinks for combating carbon dioxide emissions in the EU," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1523-1531.
    2. Edwin van der Werf & Sonja Peterson, 2009. "Modeling linkages between climate policy and land use: an overview," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(5), pages 507-517, September.
    3. Weitzman, Martin L., 2010. "Risk-adjusted gamma discounting," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 1-13, July.
    4. Darius M. Adams & Ralph J. Alig & DBruce A. McCarl & John M. Callaway & Steven M. Winnett, 1999. "Minimum Cost Strategies for Sequestering Carbon in Forests," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(3), pages 360-374.
    5. Uwe Schneider & Bruce McCarl, 2003. "Economic Potential of Biomass Based Fuels for Greenhouse Gas Emission Mitigation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 24(4), pages 291-312, April.
    6. Brent Sohngen & Robert Mendelsohn, 2003. "An Optimal Control Model of Forest Carbon Sequestration," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(2), pages 448-457.
    7. Geijer, Erik & Bostedt, Göran & Brännlund, Runar, 2011. "Damned if you do, damned if you do not--Reduced Climate Impact vs. Sustainable Forests in Sweden," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 94-106, January.
    8. G. Cornelis van Kooten & Alison Eagle & James Manley & Tara Smolak, 2004. "How Costly are Carbon Offsets? A Meta-Analysis of Forest Carbon Sinks," Working Papers 2004-01, University of Victoria, Department of Economics, Resource Economics and Policy Analysis Research Group.
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    More about this item


    Forest carbon sequestration; bioenergy; cost-effectiveness; dynamic partial equilibrium; EU climate policy;

    JEL classification:

    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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