“Tackle Climate Change: Use Wood.” That took place in the European Parliament on 6 December.
Enhancing the competitiveness of the European woodworking sector is an essential element in tackling climate change and assuring a green economic growth for the European Union.
Few days after the conclusions of the UNFCCC Doha negotiations, the woodworking sector wants to
stress –one more time- its important contribution in reducing atmospheric level of greenhouse gasses
through the use of wood and wood products.
The same message was given to the visitors of the spectacular exhibition “Tackle Climate Change: Use
Wood”, that took place in the European Parliament during the first week of December. Indeed, works
and installations of renowned European artists using wood -Stephan Balkenhol (Germany), Gorzo
Dumitru (Romania), Arne Quinze (Belgium), Philippe Ramette (France) and Richard Long (UK) - were
displayed in a specially conceived “wood garden”, and highlighted a selection of the best harvested
wood products art can produce.
Members of the European Parliament were invited to visit this unusual setting. The artists Ramette,
Gorzo and the art curator Mr Hoet were present so as to give detailed information on the art exhibition
to the Members of the European Parliament.
The European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht participated in the event and he expressed his
high appreciation to this unique initiative. “It is therefore unsurprising that wood is the preferred
material of a lot of artists, both traditionally and amongst contemporary artists. It is at the same time
the most recognizably natural, the most authentic matter to work with”, the Commissioner stated.
As part of the programme, sponsored by the Chairman of the Club du Bois of the European Parliament,
Gaston Franco MEP, a workshop about the uses, availability and climate sequestration potential of wood
was organised on 5 December. Serge de Gheldere, Belgium Climate Ambassador to the former US Vice-
President Al Gore, and Prof Udo Mantau, Head of Centre of Wood Science of the University of Hamburg
took part in the debate and discussion providing scientific proves of the benefits related to increasing
the pool of harvest wood products in everyday life.
Mr de Gheldere drew a clear picture of the role of harvested wood products in reducing greenhouse gas
emissions. He underlined how the European Union can achieve its ambitious environment targets simply
enhancing the use of wood products and substituting - whenever possible- wood with other more
energy-intensive construction materials.“These are the ten most important years in history”, said de
Gheldere, “with a strong push in carbon sequestration paired with energy efficiency in existing buildings
we are still on track to prevent the global temperature rise to unmanageable levels”.
Prof. Mantau underlined the importance of respecting the life cycle of wood in order to prolong its
carbon sequestration. “Only burning wood in the last part of its life cycle, once its utilisation has been
maximised, can guarantee the extension of the carbon stored in wood during the photosynthesis
occurred during the tree’s life”.
“In order to tackle climate change and reducing CO2 in the atmosphere, nature’s recipe is simple: lock
carbon in forests. What mankind has to do is to continue the process by using, re-using and re-cycling
wood. At the end of its useful life, wood can be burned and the energy recovered.”, confirmed Ladislaus
Döry, President of EPF and Vice-Chairman of CEI-Bois, “The longer the pool of harvested wood products
exists, the longer carbon is stored; European policy makers are invited to enhance the use of wood
products in everyday life. Moreover they are invited to remove all unnecessary restrictions to building
with wood.” Matti Mikkola Chairman of CEI-Bois requested.
The exhibition was co-organised by the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois),
the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) and the European Panel Federation (EPF) with
the great support of the Honourable Member of the European Parliament, Mr Gaston Franco.
With more than 100 participants present in Brussels on 4 December, the multimedia exhibition “Tackle
climate change: use wood” was declared opened at the European Parliament.
Hosted by MEP Jean-Pierre Audy, President of the French delegation in the EPP Group, in representation
of the Club du Bois Chairman Gaston Franco, MEP, the reputed art curators Jan Hoet, founder of the City
Museum for Contemporary Art (Ghent) and curator of Documenta IX (Kassel, Germany), and Dany
Vandenbossche, Honorary Member of the Flemish Parliament, explained to this audience the common
ground we all share around a material that is capable to convey emotions and closeness in such a
Mr Jean-Pierre Audy (MEP), in his opening speech, stressed the importance of using wood: "We have to
promote the use of wood as a natural and renewable material."
"It really is a simple and effective way to reduce atmospheric CO2. Wood is an asset to "meet 25%
reduction in CO2 emissions required by the Kyoto Protocol.", added Mr Audy.
Mr Audy added that he believes that the wood must be primarily a material "for use in construction,
furniture, packaging, art ...." but at the end of its life, we should not "neglect its energy potential ".
Mr Audy closed his presentation by expressing his wish that "this exhibition is an appeal to the European
institutions and the governments of Member States "to realise the potential of the wood and to work to
not sacrifice one area (the wood) at the expense of another”.
Amid this spectacular setting, the public met also with artists whose work is on display. Philippe
Ramette and Gorzo Dumitru met with diplomatic representatives from their countries as well as with
members of the Parliament and representatives of the European Commission and the woodworking
Mr Jan Hoet stated: “In this exposition, the present artists try their link with nature, and bring us a
provocative message : they push us to think about the function AND the future of wood”.
The subtitle of the exhibition is ‘Plant a second forest’, referring to the carbon stock from the forest that
remains in harvested wood products. Carbon captured by the trees will remain in the products we use
daily, until the end of the recycling cascade.
The European Parliament provided an exceptional setting to communication between policy-makers and
those who have a stake at their decisions.
Close to half of the audience were European woodworking industry representatives, as their
confederation CEI-Bois held its general assembly in Brussels on 5 December. “We are conscious of the
importance of being here at the EP, our industry’s future depends for a large part on coherent and
informed policy decisions”, said Ladislaus Döry, vice-chairman of CEI-Bois and President of the European
Wood Panel Industries Federation EPF.
For more information contact Mrs Silvia Melegari:
European Panel Federation (EPF)
24 rue Montoyer
B-1000 Brussels / Belgium
Tel +32 2 556 25 89
Fax +32 2 287 08 75