EU carbon removals certification should incentivize long-term climate benefits over short-term carbon offsets

EUSTAFOR position on the proposal for a Regulation on establishing a Union regulatory framework for the certification of carbon removals

In the introductory part of the proposal, the European Commission notes that, in order to achieve deep global cuts in GHG emissions, ‘first we have to improve the efficiency of our buildings, transport modes and industries, to move to a circular economy, and to massively scale up renewable energy. In that regard, the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) calls for an extra careful approach while setting up a carbon removals certificate system through EU legislation. Such a system cannot serve solely as a tool to offset the emissions of the emitting sectors by natural ecosystems, i.e. forests. Such an approach would be problematic for the following reasons:

  1. Forests and forestry are already delivering significant results in terms of carbon removals. Additional potential exists; however, it may be limited since the goals of sustainable forest management (SFM) are much broader.
  2. Forests cannot be depicted as an infinite carbon storage and carbon sink capacity because that ignores forest life cycle principles as well as the fact that climate change is also negatively affecting forest ecosystems
  3. Carbon removals certification must not under any circumstances become a tool for greenwashing, allowing the emitting sectors to continue their business as usual.

In the climate mitigation context, besides looking at how much CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere, the stronger focus should be on how to secure long-term flow of sustainable, renewable raw materials that will replace as much as possible the use of fossil-based materials, hence directly prevent the inflow of new non-biogenic carbon to the atmosphere.

EUSTAFOR then raises and further develops 3 key points on:

  1. Quantification
  2. Additionality
  3. Finance

Read the full Statement here.

Published 27/02/2023

Mr. Piotr Borkowski

Executive Director

Ms. Amila Meškin

Senior Policy Advisor

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