LOT Polish Airlines will support an innovative project on counteracting the adverse effects of climate change implemented by State Forests. This is yet another of many initiatives of the Polish carrier contributing to the improvement of CO2 balance in the atmosphere.
Maciej Wilk, Member of the Management Board of the LOT Polish Airlines for Operational Issues, and Andrzej Konieczny, CEO of State Forests, signed today a letter of intent on cooperation in the implementation of the Carbon Forest Project. The assumptions and anticipated effects of the undertaking which aims at increasing the amount of carbon dioxide captured and stored by forests were presented during the international climate conference COP24 in Katowice and attracted a lot of interest.
“We respond to the challenges which are today of concern of the entire world. Climate change caused, among others, by greenhouse gases, including CO2, affect forests, as well: trees suffer from ever more frequent droughts and rapid natural disasters. Therefore, we should reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere simultaneously reducing the emissions of the gas and increasing its absorption. In the latter, the role of forests is clear, as they naturally absorb CO2 during photosynthesis,” says Andrzej Konieczny, CEO of State Forests.
He adds: “The CFP assumes that by modifying the standard sustainable forest management, we can make the given fragment of a forest absorb even more CO2 than it already does. Considering the number of forests we have in Poland, and the fact that it is continuously growing, such activities applied at a larger scale could positively influence the general carbon balance”.
The experimental program covers selected areas in 23 State Forest Districts all over Poland – in total, 12 thousand ha. As part of CFP, foresters will conduct there the so-called additional activities, that is, plant more fast-growing species, introduce the second story of trees and the understory, increase the share of natural regeneration and planting with the Sobanski method.
It’s a pilot phase which is accompanied by wide-ranging scientific research. Scientists calculate that within 30 years, each hectare of forest currently covered by the CFP will absorb additional 37 ton of CO2 – in total, 1 million ton more than what they would absorb without the conducting the said activities. Initial estimations indicate that even around 1 million ha from 7.6 million ha of forests managed by SF would be suitable for the purposes of the project. With this scale, the effects in the form of CO2 absorbed would be many times greater.
Additionally, the amounts of gas absorbed are already sold by State Forests on auctions in the form of Carbon Dioxide Units and they enjoy high interest among leaders of all sectors of the Polish economy. The funds acquired this way are fully allocated by SF to specific pro-environmental undertakings indicated by the purchaser – from endangered species protection programs, construction of forest tourist infrastructure (lookout towers, educational pathways, cycling paths) to the purchase of land for afforestation.
“LOT is consistent in its involvement in the fight for the green planet. We introduce a series of operational changes which during only two recent years have enabled the reduction of CO2 emission by around 10 g of CO2 per passenger / 1 km of flight. The numbers differ depending on the type of the route, however, in the case of all of them, we observed a significant improvement of the performance,” notes Maciej Wilk, Member of the Management Board of LOT Polish Airlines for Operational Issues.
He adds: “It is worth pointing out that the airline industry is responsible for 2 per cent of global CO2 emission. Further reduction of emissions is, however, possible, that is why we engage not only in the Carbon Forest Project but also in consistent optimisation of our ongoing business operation”.
The activities undertaken by LOT include, among others, minimisation of the number of engines used by aircraft while taxiing after landing, optimisation of the air routes based on modern software, verification of speed of aircraft take-off and landing or reducing the weight of the aircraft. Whenever possible, LOT will apply external electrical power supply instead of fuel supply in the airports. The company supports also European initiatives which are aimed at the reduction of CO2 emissions.
“The improvement of the capacity of the European airspace and airports would allow for significant optimisation of routes and shortening the flight time. This, in turn, according to the estimations, would be connected with the reduction of CO2 by approximately 16 million ton annually on a European scale. Therefore, we actively support the activities aimed at launching, as fast as possible, a uniform system for managing the European Airspace. We also support four pillars of the Emissions Reduction Policy, that is, development of technology, improvement of airport infrastructure, operational improvements and economic mechanisms, but we believe that the latter should be introduced on a global scale,” says Maciej Wilk.
It is worth adding that State Forests, as an organisation, apart from implementing a pro-climate, sustainable forest management, strives to limit its carbon footprint. As part of “Forest Of Energy” and “Thermomodarnization” projects, they increase the share of renewable energy sources in the structure of energy consumption, by installing in the SF buildings photovoltaic cells, heat pumps, biomass boilers and other RES (they will perform in total 140 such micro-installations with the total power of 2 MW), introduce integrated electricity purchase, and took their first steps in developing their own, low-carbon transport, by purchasing 16 fully electric cars. Foresters promote also wooden construction and general use of wood in every-day life, because it is an ecological raw material, fully renewable and eco-friendly, and wooden products bind CO2.
Warsaw, August 20th 2019