European Green Deal: EU agrees to increase carbon removals through land use, forestry and agriculture
Source - Press release, EU Commission
The European Commission welcomes the provisional deal on the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) regulation reached late last night with the European Parliament and Council to increase the EU's target for net carbon removals by natural sinks to 310 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030. This agreement sets ambitious and fair targets for each Member State to reverse the decreasing trend of the EU's carbon sink.
This agreement is another step in the adoption of the Commission's ‘Fit for 55' legislative package to deliver the EU's climate ambition under the European Green Deal, following recent deals to end the sale of new CO2 emitting cars in Europe by 2035 and to increase national emission reduction targets in the transport, buildings, waste and agriculture sectors. With COP27 ongoing, and with the Biodiversity COP15 on the horizon, today's agreement demonstrates the EU marries ambitious targets with action. It also shows once more that the EU is not slowing its green transition in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but accelerating its work to become the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
Member States will be responsible for caring for and expanding their carbon sinks to meet the new EU target. Member States have many measures at hand to improve their land management, including sustainable forest management or the rewetting of peatlands and should update their strategic plans under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to reflect the higher ambition for the land sector. EU funds like the LIFE programme offer financial support for climate action in agriculture and forestry.
The agreement simplifies the existing rules and enhances the quality of monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions and removals, using more accurate and precise data monitoring such as geographical data and remote sensing. From 2021 to 2025 the targets stay closely aligned to the current LULUCF Regulation, with its so-called ‘no-debit' commitment to maintain current carbon sink levels. In a second phase from 2026 to 2030 the EU's net removal target will increase to -310 Mt of CO2 equivalent, which will put the Union on track towards climate neutrality in 2050. Each Member State will contribute a fair share with the target distributed among them based on recent levels of removals or emissions and the potential to further increase removals.
Nature is our greatest ally in the fight against the climate and biodiversity crises. It shields us from climate extremes and absorbs carbon. Right now, Europe’s nature is struggling and our carbon sinks are shrinking. By setting a higher target for carbon removals through nature and ensuring more accurate monitoring, our new regulation on land use and forests helps to redress that situation and puts the European carbon sink on a path to growth again. It’s a key requirement to meet our net zero target and even opens the door to a higher climate target in the near future. This agreement is therefore a crucial step in delivering our promise to become climate neutral by 2050
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal - 11/11/2022
Today's provisional agreement now requires formal adoption by the Parliament and the Council. Once this process is completed, the new legislation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and enter into force.
The European Green Deal is the EU's long-term growth strategy to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050. The revision of the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) regulation is one of the ‘Fit for 55' proposals presented by the Commission in July 2021 to make the EU's climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. The LULUCF sector is responsible for both emitting and absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, and specifically covers the use of soils, trees, plants, biomass and timber.
Achieving these efforts in the next decade is crucial to Europe becoming the world's first climate neutral continent by 2050 and making the European Green Deal a reality. The legislative tools are set to deliver on the targets agreed in the European Climate Law and fundamentally transform our economy and society for a fair, green and prosperous future.
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