The recent online consultation about how the EU should integrate Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) into its 2030 climate and energy package (FW 206) revealed that fundamental questions remain over how to account for this sector, signalling that more time is needed to tackle this complex sector and should not delay an agreement on the Effort Sharing Decision early next year.
The 140 wide-ranging responses, including from 18 Member States, showed a split between Member States over a number of issues, such as how to share the burden of reducing emissions and increasing removals of CO2, and whether these removals should come at the expense of reducing emissions in other sectors.
On 14 and 15 September, the European Commission (EC) organised a two-day conference to provide feedback on the results and gather further input. NGO concerns surrounding the need to improve accounting and the risk of loopholes undermining the overall target (to 37 per cent or lower) featured prominently in the Commission’s feedback, and were echoed by some Member States, notably Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Most respondents of the consultation as well as attendees of the conference noted that deciding how to include LULUCF was difficult without more clarity on accounting rules, especially over how to account for Forest Management.
However the EU decides to treat this sector, it is vital that it addresses emissions from bioenergy; that it does not weaken the emissions reduction target for other sectors; that it improves rules (particularly on how to account for forest management and afforestation); that it incentivises emissions reductions from wetlands, crop land and grazing land; and that it prioritises biodiversity co-benefits when incentivising increases in the forest sink.