Commission proposals to remove, recycle and sustainably store carbon

On 15 December, the Commission adopted a Communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles, setting out how to increase removals of carbon from the atmosphere. To balance out the impacts of our CO2 emissions, the EU will need to drastically reduce its reliance on fossil carbon, upscale carbon farming to store more carbon in nature, and promote industrial solutions to sustainably and verifiably remove and recycle carbon. Removing and storing more carbon, from the atmosphere, oceans and coastal wetlands, is essential to achieve the EU's legally binding commitment to become climate neutral by 2050.

The Communication sets out short- to medium-term actions to support carbon farming and upscale this green business model to better reward land managers for carbon sequestration and biodiversity protection. By 2030, carbon farming initiatives should contribute 42Mt of CO2 storage to Europe's natural carbon sinks.

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said: “Carbon removals are vital in keeping our climate commitments within reach. Together with sharp emission reductions, we need sustainable solutions for removing and recycling carbon, which will make our economy more resilient and help us fight both the climate and biodiversity crises. Today, we set out the main principles and objectives of our work to prepare the necessary rules. These rules will ensure carbon removals are credible and have the desired effect, and help to create new business opportunities in carbon farming for farmers, foresters, and other land managers.” Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski added: “Agriculture and forestry are our allies in the fight against climate change, they mitigate its impacts by removing carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon farming will strengthen the contribution of farmers and foresters to the decarbonisation of our economy, by providing extra income for farmers, while protecting biodiversity, making farms more resilient to natural disasters and ensuring food security. Research and innovation will also contribute to this goal, providing further solutions to farmers and foresters.

Next steps

By the end of 2022, the Commission will propose an EU regulatory framework for the certification of carbon removals based on robust and transparent carbon accounting rules and requirements to monitor and verify the authenticity and environmental integrity of high-quality sustainable carbon removals. Such rules will provide the necessary legal framework to scale up carbon farming and industrial solutions removing carbon from the atmosphere. A Call for Evidence will also be launched in January 2022.

Source and further information: EU Commission

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