The Commission Proposed Regulation on Carbon Removal Certification…
The legislative proposal on certification of carbon removals published today by the European Commission is an important step towards achieving the Green Deal’s climate targets. Delivering on the revised LULUCF target of 310 MtCO2eq net removals by 2030, and to achieve climate neutrality thereafter will require strong financial incentives for land managers, with the CAP budget being insufficient on its own. The European Commission has proposed a carbon removal framework that will enable harmonised monitoring and qualitative certification of carbon removals, giving a strong impetus to their valuation, which in turn will motivate land managers to commit to climate targets.
With its new proposal, the European Commission introduces an EU certification framework based on quality criteria (QU.A.L.ITY) and transparency requirements, including a well-designed governance framework. Both the verification and certification of the authenticity of agricultural (and forestry) carbon removals, are essential to build trust and interest among buyers of carbon credits or certificates.
Rules for the quantifications of carbon removals
EU certification requires a uniform methodology to establish the baseline in such a way that additionality is properly determined, ensuring that pioneer efforts and regional and local differences are taken into account. However, the Commission’s proposal does not yet define baseline, additionality and sustainability in detail, which will lead to too little transparency in the definition process, resulting in uncertainty, hesitation and criticism. The EU does have a role in setting the rules for accreditation, but this should be done in a transparent manner and in dialogue with the private sector.
From the perspective of landowners/farmers/foresters, it is important that those already involved in existing carbon removal schemes have sufficient time to adapt to any new schemes once the methodology is validated. MRV as well as all other administrative costs should be kept as low as possible and there should be sufficient scope for action-based or hybrid schemes to pave the way for result-based carbon farming schemes. Finally, emission reductions should be taken into account so that landowners have sufficient incentives not only to sequester carbon but also to reduce their emissions.
EU recognition of carbon removal standards
The ELO welcomes the European Commission’s approach to consider minimizing the administrative burden on operators of carbon farming activities, especially for small-scale operations. In doing so, the importance and urgency of developing registries for carbon removal certificates cannot be underestimated. The ELO therefore calls for the establishment of a European registry and related procedures to keep a record of all carbon removal certificates issued.
About the ELO: The ELO is the umbrella organization for national rural organizations of businesses managing agricultural, forestry and environmental land all over Europe.