LULUCF is a complex topic even for the most hardened climate veterans. Here is some basic information that you might find helpful to navigate the issue:
Forests and the Climate
In July 2016 the European Commission published their proposed Regulation for the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sectors. It sets out accounting rules and targets to determine how Member States must act between 2021 and 2030.
The proposed Regulation will weaken the EU’s ability to meet its Paris Agreement commitments such as keeping the average global temperature rise to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C; and balancing the release and removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by the second half of this century.
Healthy land and forests have long been recognised as an important tool to help avert catastrophic climate change. Yet signatories to the Paris Agreement, including the EU, have not committed to emissions cuts ambitious enough to meet the 2°C target, let alone 1.5°C. Scientists say we will have to find ways to remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than we emit – so called “negative emissions”. Technically, there are many ways to do this using chemistry and geology. But the most feasible, economic, and safe option is to use the power of biology – harnessing the process of photosynthesis in plants to absorb atmospheric CO2.
Restoring forests is the most feasible option to achieve negative emissions at scale. This means Europe must shift towards more sustainable forestry and land management. Achieving emissions reductions and removals in the LULUCF sector is therefore as important to the EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework, as reducing emissions with the Emissions Trading System and the Effort Sharing Regulation. To improve the LULUCF proposal, NGOs call on the EU to:
- Raise: We need to restore natural carbon sinks to increase carbon removal
- Implement simple accounting rules that encourage sustainable forestry and good land management
- Introduce mandatory accounting for ‘managed wetland’ – one of the largest sources of carbon
- Ensure respect for EU Nature legislation in all activities
- Don’t allow progress in the forestry sector to offset work in any other sector
- Ensure all emissions from bioenergy are fully accounted