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EU forestry and agricultural carbon law moves forward

21 Dec 2012 17:27:26 | edcm

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A European proposal paving the way for the inclusion of carbon stored in forests and farm land in the EU's greenhouse-gas reduction targets took a step forward on Friday.

This year, the European Commission suggested a specific legal framework for forestry and agricultural carbon, rather than incorporating it into the EU's emissions trading system (ETS) (see EDCM 13 March 2012).

On Friday, the EU's "Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry" (LULUCF) policy proposal was approved by the committee of permanent representatives (Coreper I) − the body that does the legwork before European Council meetings.

The EU's Cyprus presidency said: "The main objective of this decision is to establish robust and comprehensive accounting rules for LULUCF, as well as to enable future policy development towards the full inclusion of LULUCF in the Union's greenhouse-gas emission-reduction commitments when the conditions are right."

The presidency said that the proposal version approved by Coreper l is the final compromise agreed between the council and the European parliament after "lengthy and tough negotiations".

The agreement is expected to be officially ratified next year.

Despite their greenhouse-gas emissions and "removals" (absorption) being already reported under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and partially accounted for under the Kyoto Protocol, the forestry and agriculture industries were the last major sectors without common European rules − a state of affairs the presidency attributed to "serious deficiencies" in international accounting rules of emissions from those sectors.

The Commission has previously said that, once accounting methods are proved to be robust, the LULUCF sectors will be included in the EU's greenhouse gas-reduction target.

Separately, the presidency also said on Friday that Coreper I approved a proposal to enhance the monitoring and reporting mechanism for greenhouse gases that will facilitate addressing emissions from aviation, land use, land-use change and forestry.

The presidency said the proposal is aimed at putting in place rules for member states to report on their use of revenues from the auctioning of EU carbon emissions allowances (EUAs) but gave no further details. SM

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