The European Union has approved legislation to expand its forests, swamps and other “sinks” that absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), a measure that could allow the bloc to raise its target to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions.
Negotiators from the European Parliament and the European Council, which represents EU governments, reached an agreement early on Friday on legislation dubbed the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulations (LULUCF).
The law aims to remove 310 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents by 2030 through the use of soil, trees, plants, biomass and wood.
Binding targets are to be set for all 27 EU members, aiming to gradually increase absorption and reduce emissions in order to reach the EU-wide target.
Currently, EU countries must ensure that they offset emissions from land use and forestry with at least an equivalent amount of carbon removal. According to the new law, CO2 removal must exceed emissions from 2026.
The law could prompt the EU to raise its target to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to nearly 57% from 1990 levels, compared to the current 55%, while embarking on the path to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
The deal is the latest of three the European Union sought to finalize in time for a UN climate summit that began in Egypt on Sunday.
The bloc reached agreement last month on legislation that would effectively ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 and on Tuesday approved legislation setting national targets to reduce carbon emissions.
Enhanced carbon sequestration can take the form of restoring old-growth forests or creating new forests, rewetting peatlands, or changing agricultural practices such as
EU governments had tried to make the system more flexible but met with opposition from EU lawmakers, who said the bloc had already lost about a quarter of its carbon sink over the past 20 years and the law required guarantees on both carbon sink targets as well as for biodiversity.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/forestry-enviro/environment/eu-agrees-law-to-remove-co2-with-woodlands-and-other-carbon-sinks-42136128.html EU agrees law to remove CO2 with forests and other carbon sinks