LULUCF: First Council debate

On 17 October, the EU Environment Council had a first discussion on the proposals for an effort-sharing regulation and a regulation on land-use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF Proposal for a Regulation).

The new European proposals aim to ensure the EU reduces domestically its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

During the Environment Council, Ministers highlighted the importance of this legislation for delivering on the EU's commitment under the Paris Agreement as well as to keep the EU's leadership in climate action. Moreover:

Some delegations considered the national emission reduction target for their country in the Commission's proposal for an effort-sharing regulation was not appropriate. They asked for clarity on the methodology to set these targets and for a proper consideration of their situation, their specificities and the impact the given targets would have in their economies.

Regarding the flexibilities proposed, some ministers considered they should go further, while others warned they should not allow member states to avoid taking the necessary action. In sum, ministers argued, a balance will need to be found between flexibility and incentives for emission reductions.

Another point often raised by ministers was the need to recognise the efforts taken so far to reduce emissions in these sectors. Concerning the starting point, some delegations argued that taking as the reference the most recent verified emissions from 2016-2018, instead of the 2020 targets, penalises member states who have made early efforts and reduces the incentives to take further action. Others agreed with the starting point proposed by the Commission, because they consider 2020 targets as the starting point would not be ambitious enough.

Regarding the proposal on LULUCF, some delegations underlined the need to take into account the specificities of member states.

Several delegations indicated that credits from forest management should be better taken into account.

Mr László Sólymos, Slovak Minister for the Environment and President of the Council stated “Last weeks were ground-breaking for climate policies with the EU ratification of the Paris Agreement or the just adopted amendment to the Montreal Protocol on international scene. Now, we need to get our acts together in the EU and implement our international commitments. Therefore, I welcome the first debate among ministers on effort-sharing that gave us important insights to guide our future work on these crucial initiatives."

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