The European Commission has proposed a first EU-wide voluntary framework to certify high-quality carbon removals to help reach net zero emissions.
The proposal lays down requirements for third-party verification and certification of carbon removals, the management of certification schemes and the functioning of registries, to further ensure transparency and credibility of the certification process.
The Commission believes carbon removals “can and must bring clear benefits for the climate” and the Commission will prioritise those carbon removal activities that will provide significant benefits for biodiversity.
Supported by experts, it will develop tailored certification methods for carbon removal activities delivering on climate and other environmental objectives.
The proposed regulation establishes four QU.A.L.ITY criteria:
- Quantification: Carbon removal activities need to be measured accurately and deliver unambiguous benefits for the climate;
- Additionality: Carbon removal activities need to go beyond existing practices and what is required by law;
- Long-term storage: Certificates are linked to the duration of carbon storage so as to ensure permanent storage;
- Sustainability: Carbon removal activities must preserve or contribute to sustainability objectives such as climate change adaptation, circular economy, water and marine resources, and biodiversity.
Industrial technologies, such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) or direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS), can capture carbon and store it permanently.
In agriculture and forestry, carbon farming practices can sustainably enhance the storage of carbon in soils and forests or reduce the release of carbon from soils and create a new business model for farmers and foresters.
In addition, long-lasting products and materials, such as wood-based construction products, can also keep carbon bound over several decades or longer.
The Commission’s proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council, with the first meeting of the expert group planned for the first quarter of 2023.
It supports the U’s ambitious for at least 55% reduction of net emissions by 2030 and long term goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal said: “Today’s proposal for an EU certification of carbon removals is a historic step in our fight against the climate crisis. To reach climate neutrality we need to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions but we also need to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
“With our Fit for 55 package, work is ongoing to turn down the big tap of greenhouse gas emissions as fast as we can. Now, we set the regulatory framework to simultaneously incentivise carbon removals via technologies or natural carbon sinks. This has great potential for biodiversity as well. Certified carbon removals create new business opportunities for farmers, foresters and land managers eager to go the extra mile for climate and environment.”