NGOs welcomed the release of the European Commission’s proposal for a Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation, as an improvement on existing rules, despite concerns that it reduces overall ambition. NGOs, including Fern, were pleased that the Commission kept this sector separate from the Effort Sharing Regulation (which sets binding greenhouse gas emission targets for Member States for 2021–2030), recognising that there are significant differences between land use and forestry and other sectors.
Four main concerns remain.
- The LULUCF sector is allowed to generate up to 280 megatonnes of credits (equivalent to switching 10 billion incandescent bulbs to LEDs) to offset emissions in the Effort Sharing Regulation. Such offsetting dilute the EU’s target, bringing it down to 38.5 per cent, which would mean we don’t comply with our Paris commitment of reducing emissions by at least 40 per cent.
- The forest management accounting rule is still based on a projection, and there is therefore a risk that bioenergy emissions will continue to go unaccounted for.
- There are no safeguards to ensure afforestation does not harm biodiversity.
- There is no ambition to increase sequestration in the LULUCF sector.
We hope that the Council and the Parliament, which will now consider the legislative proposal will address these concerns. A positive indicator is that, in the Parliament, the Environment Committee is in charge: it has appointed MEP Norbert Lins, (German, EPP) as the rapporteur. Shadow rapporteurs are Paul Brannen (UK, S&D), Nils Torvalds (FI, ALDE), Benedek Javor (HU, Greens/EFA), Luke Flanahan (IE, GUE) and Marco Affronte (IT, EFDD).