Under current EU legislation, EU Member States have to ensure that accounted greenhouse gas emissions from land use, land use change or forestry are balanced by at least an equivalent accounted removal of CO2 from the atmosphere in the period 2021 to 2030.
The LULUCF Regulation (EU) 2018/841 implements the agreement between EU leaders in October 2014 that all sectors should contribute to the EU's 2030 emission reduction target, including the land use sector.
The Commission is proposing as part of the Fit for 55 legislative package to increase the carbon removals to -310 million of tonnes CO2 equivalent by 2030 and to achieve climate neutrality in the combined land use, forestry and agriculture sector by 2035 at EU level.
This is in line with its more ambitious target of achieving net emission reductions of at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
The proposed Regulation for land use, forestry and agriculture lays out a change of the regulatory framework in three steps.
For reasons of regulatory stability, the first step from 2021 to 2025 stays close to the current LULUCF Regulation, which had been set to generate no less than -225 Mt CO2 equivalent of net removals (so-called ‘no-debit’ commitment).
The second step, which takes place during the period from 2026 to 2030, will increase the EU net removal target to -310 Mt of CO2 equivalent, which will put the Union on track towards climate neutrality in 2050. Each Member States will contribute a fair share because the -310 Mt target will be distributed among them based on the recent level of removals or emissions and the potential to further increase removals. This approach will significantly simplify the compliance rules, moving from accounting benchmarks to the reported emissions and removals, and build on more accurate and more precise data monitoring, such as through the increased use of geographical data and remote sensing.
After 2030, the objective to reach climate neutrality by 2035 in the combined land use, forestry and agriculture sector will be aimed at the level of the EU. The proposed Regulation lays out a process how to determine by 2025 binding targets for Member States from 2031 onwards.
In view of the more integrated policy approach, the proposed Regulation will lead to climate neutral food and biomass production, improve the resilience of forests to climate change, facilitate the restoration of degraded ecosystems, and promote the bio-economy through the use of durable bio-products – in full respect of ecological principles fostering biodiversity.
The legislative proposals will be transmitted to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions for further consideration under the ordinary legislative procedure.
In November 2020, the Commission launched a public consultation inviting stakeholders and citizens to submit their views on the revision of the LULUCF Regulation.
The 232 stakeholder contributions were summarised and informed the development of the proposals.
For more information on the stakeholder process, visit the Better Regulation portal.