EU Approves Increased Emissions Reduction Targets And Expands Natural Carbon Sinks

EU Approves Increased Emissions Reduction Targets And Expands Natural Carbon Sinks - Carbon Herald
Credit: Marko Aliaksandr | Shutterstock

The European Parliament announced the approval of updated regulations on its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. On Tuesday March 13th, the EU policymakers gave their final approval to toughen the national targets to achieve emissions reduction in some sectors, and expand EU carbon sink targets for natural carbon removals.

The updates are part of the Effort Sharing Regulation form which is part of the European Commission’s “Fit for 55 roadmap”. The “Fit for 55 roadmap” is the EU’s major package of climate change legislation designed for the 27-country bloc to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels. 

The EU voted that all EU member states will be officially required for the first time to reduce emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, with targets ranging from 10% – 50%, with goals based on GDP per capita and cost-effectiveness. Richer countries like Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg and Sweden face tougher targets around 50% emission cuts, versus countries like Bulgaria with a 10% goal. 

“With this law, we take a major step forward in delivering on the EU’s climate goals. The new rules for national emission cuts ensure that all member states contribute and that existing loopholes are closed. This allows us to send a clear signal that the EU is serious about being the global champion for a competitive and efficient climate agenda,” commented Member of the European Parliament Jessica Polfjärd (Sweden).

The second law that the EU approved is expanding its forests, marshes and other natural carbon sinks that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, to ensure this sector removes a net 310 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent by 2030. That is roughly a 15% increase from the current target and would lead to a reduction of greenhouse gases in the EU in 2030 to 57% compared to 1990 levels vs 55%.

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The new law is a revision of the regulation on the sector of land use, land use change and forests (LULUCF), which aims to improve natural sinks of carbon to make the EU the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and improve biodiversity, in line with the European Green Deal.

It also aims to reverse the recent decline in Europe’s carbon sinks by recreating old forests, rewetting peatland or changing farming practices like reducing tilling to trap more carbon in the soil.

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The text of the revision is yet to be formally approved by the European Council. It will then be published in the Official Journal of the EU and will enter into force 20 days later.

The new regulations make sure that every EU country will face binding emissions reduction targets and will absorb more GHGs so that the EU-wide goal is reached. The bloc is strengthening its climate change policies in order to serve the growing net-zero economy and provide a reliable direction for the market to allocate sources and investments.

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