Today, the European Parliament took one step forward and two steps back for the climate and forests.
On a positive front, the Environment Committee voted to strengthen the EU’s climate target for the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) - which covers the agriculture, waste, buildings and transport sectors - by reducing the amount of ‘LULUCF offsets’ they had access to by 90 million tons of CO2.
Concretely, this means that the climate will be spared 90 million tons of CO2, almost equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of Belgium.
The Environment Committee was also adamant that the Commission should first check the quality of offsets produced by the forestry sector before they could be used. This is wise given that, in a simultaneous vote, two other parliamentary committees (the Agriculture Committee (AGRI) and the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE)) took the highly retrograde step of voting in favour of dishonest carbon accounting rules.
If these rules are applied, it will mean that any emissions resulting from more harvesting of trees will not be accounted for.