New research by the Oeko-Institut shows that counting Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) towards the EU’s climate target could mean the EU’s climate target is reduced from the 40 per cent pledged to around 35 per cent. The research published by Fern and the International Federation of Organic Movements (IFOAM) shows that the best way forward for the EU would be to account for LULUCF emissions separately and not allow emissions from the land sector to be mixed with fossil fuel emissions or non carbon dioxide emissions from the agriculture sector. Hence, the report concludes there is a need for a ‘stand-alone LULUCF pillar’. Displaying rare cross-sectoral unity, the LULUCF pillar was chosen by almost all environmental groups, as well as actors in forestry and agriculture, suggesting that any other option would be met with fierce resistance.
The report also showed that depending on how one would account for afforestation and forest management, the same forest could produce wildly different amounts of emissions credits or debits. It is therefore essential that clear EU-wide rules are developed and adopted. This is, however, difficult as many EU Member States don’t want EU rules for their forests, and like ‘wriggle-room’ for reaching emissions targets.