European Parliament supports higher target for carbon sinks in land use, land-use change, forestry sector, raising EU’s 2030 GHG reduction target to 57%; it wants agricultural sector emissions treated separately, contrary to European Commission's plan

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BRUSSELS , June 14, 2022 (press release) –

New mechanism for member states who did not reach their annual targets due to natural disturbances such as forest fires
Emissions from the agricultural sector should dealt with separately

MEPs support increasing the target for carbon sinks in land use, land use change and the forestry sector, de facto raising the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target to 57 %.

 

On Wednesday, Parliament adopted its position on a proposed law to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve natural carbon sinks in the land use, land use change and forestry sectors (LULUCF) with 472 votes for, 124 against and 22 abstentions.


Carbon sinks to increase EU 2030 GHG reduction target to 57 %


MEPs support the Commission’s proposal that the EU 2030 target for net greenhouse gas removals in LULUCF should be at least 310 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Such an increase would de facto raise the EU’s 2030 GHG reduction target to 57%, as the contribution of net removals to the 2030 55% GHG reduction target was limited to 225 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in the EU Climate Law as proposed by the European Parliament. It would also be beneficial in improving biodiversity and reforestation.


MEPs also propose setting-up a natural disturbances mechanism from 2026 to 2030 available to member states who did not reach their annual targets due to so-called “natural disturbances”, e.g. forest fires.


Finally, they reaffirm in their position that natural carbon sinks are fragile and volatile, and therefore, contrary to the Commission’s proposal, should not be pooled with emissions from the agricultural sector.


Quote


After the vote, rapporteur, Ville Niinistö (Greens/EFA, FI), said: "The role of carbon sinks in EU climate policy is more important now than ever in our pathway towards carbon neutrality. How we use land must be climate smart and this applies to agriculture, the restoration of degraded lands, and forest management. The position adopted today by the European Parliament improves the Commission's LULUCF proposal consistently promoting better land use for nature and biodiversity.


With today’s vote, we encourage the EU and its member states to step up and support incentives for farmers and forest owners to take action for sustainable solutions in agriculture and forestry."


Next steps


Parliament is now ready to start negotiations with member states.


Background


LULUCF is part of the “Fit for 55 in 2030 package", which is the EU’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030 compared to 1990 levels in line with the European Climate Law.

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