Science - December 10, 2015

‘The climate conference is a big circus’

Albert Sikkema

Who? Professor by special appointment of European Forests, Gert-Jan Nabuurs
What? Took part in the UN climate conference in Paris
Why? To draw attention to the issue of sustainable forest policy

What was it like in Paris?

‘I was there for three days and I gave several talks. It is a big circus with about 25,000 people, a lot of security and a lot of nice words. I had some dealings with climate negotiators from the EU as well. That was very good, although I don’t know whether it helped, of course, because
the negotiations are still going on.’

What are your expectations?

‘The outcome will probably be quite weak. That is because the parties submit plans but are wary of binding agreements. The EU, for example, wants to work towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent. That is a nice goal but if you don’t turn it into a binding agreement I wonder what will come out of it. I have made clear what the potential of the European forests is for such a reduction, but it does mean investing in tangible measures.’

Doesn’t sound very promising.

‘Working parties are honing the texts now. I think in the end the big boys – the EU, US, China and Brazil – will get together and formulate a concise declaration.’