The European Council adopted its negotiating mandate for talks with the European Parliament on a proposal to establish the first EU-level certification framework for carbon removals. This voluntary framework aims to facilitate and speed up the deployment of high-quality carbon removal activities in the EU, resulting in an unambiguous positive climate impact, while fighting greenwashing.
The proposal establishes monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) rules for carbon removals. By complementing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it will contribute to the EU’s ambitious goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2050, as set out in the European climate law.
“Fighting climate change and reaching climate neutrality requires a 360-degree effort,” commented Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, acting Spanish third deputy prime minister and minister for the ecological transition and the demographic challenge. “Not only are we taking unprecedented measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but we are also working to counterbalance the unavoidable emissions caused by those hard-to-abate sectors that will inevitably remain carbon dependent. Removing increasing quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere is crucial to achieve global net-zero emissions and limit global warming to 1.5°C. Today’s mandate is the first step towards introducing a comprehensive carbon removal framework in EU legislation and a further testament to our climate efforts.”
The proposed regulation covers different types of carbon removals, including permanent carbon storage through industrial technologies (such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage [BECCS] and direct air capture with capture and storage [DACCS]), carbon farming (for example, restoring forests and soil and wetland management) and carbon storage in long-lasting products (such as wood-based construction).
The Council’s mandate extends the scope of the activities that can be certified under the new framework to include, in addition to carbon removals, certain types of carbon farming activities that reduce emissions from agricultural soils, as long as they result, overall, in an improvement in the soil carbon balance.
Activities that do not result in carbon removals or soil emission reductions, such as avoided deforestation or the reduction of livestock emissions, are not included in the scope of the regulation.