Under new EU legislation adopted today, EU Member States have to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions from land use, land use change or forestry are offset by at least an equivalent removal of CO₂ from the atmosphere in the period 2021 to 2030.
This "no-debit" rule is established by the Regulation on the integration of land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) into the EU's 2030 climate and energy framework.
For instance, deforestation – that is, forest land changed to another use, such as settlements – has to be compensated by an equivalent afforestation effort, or by improving sustainable management of existing forests beyond a projected benchmark.
Following adoption in the European Parliament on 17 April, with today’s Council vote the law is now formally adopted.
The Regulation introduces an updated standardised system of accounting rules, previously regulated by Decision No 529/2013/EU and the Kyoto Protocol, as well as flexibility mechanisms for transferring accounted emissions and removals with the Effort Sharing Regulation.
The LULUCF Regulation is the third pillar of the EU's 2030 climate and energy framework. Together with the Effort Sharing regulation and the revised ETS directive, it creates a binding legal framework for the EU’s efforts to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.