When the European Council met to discuss stricter 2030 climate targets on 12 December 2020, they has heard NGOs and industry arguments about whether to bundle efforts to increase natural carbon removals from forests and ecosystems with efforts to reduce industry emissions under the same target. NGOs have long argued that to put the two together blurs legal certainty and is just another form of offsetting, an attempted ‘solution’ that has widely failed.
They opted to go with the European Commission’s proposal for the 2030 target in the EU Climate Law. This decision to have a “net” target will take the emissions reduction burden away from other sectors.
The European Parliament, on the other hand, supports a clear Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction target in their report on the EU Climate Law - not including “net” removals. Having a separate target for the removal of CO2 through forests and land would have focussed the debate on maximising the land-use sector’s potential, without reducing action from polluting industries. Such a separate target might be included in the revision of the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation, or under a new EU restoration law slated for next year.