The European Parliament and EU Council reached a provisional agreement Tuesday on a first EU-wide voluntary framework for the certification of high-quality carbon removals.  The new certification framework is aimed at boosting innovative carbon removal technologies and carbon farming which contribute to the EU’s climate, environmental and zero-pollution goals. It will certify carbon removals and carbon farming to ensure they are transparent and trusted, preventing greenwashing and creating new business opportunities. The agreement sets out certification rules for:

  • Carbon farming, such as restoring forests and soils and avoiding soil emissions, rewetting of peatlands, more efficient use of fertilizers, and other innovative farming practices;
  • Industrial carbon removals, such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or direct air carbon capture and storage;
  • Binding carbon in long-lasting products and materials, such as wood-based construction materials or biochar.

The Regulation sets out rules to recognise certification schemes that demonstrate compliance with the EU framework, as well as a specific set of criteria to ensure the high-quality of carbon removals and the transparency and credibility of the certification process. The criteria will ensure that carbon removals are: correctly quantified; store carbon for an agreed long-term period (a minimum of 35 years for carbon stored in products); go beyond existing practices and don’t just reward the status quo; and contribute to broader sustainability goals, for instance by providing positive impacts on biodiversity.

An EU registry is to be established to create a high-level of transparency about certified carbon removals. This will be put in place within 4 years. In the meantime, the registries of existing certification schemes can be used. The Regulation provides a prioritisation of the certification methodologies that should be developed. It is hoped certified carbon removals will provide a basis for new economic opportunities, to be monetised through private schemes and public sector support, as well as generating commercial advantages with consumers looking to reward environmentally-friendly practices. Carbon farming should create new business models for farmers and foresters and is expected to yield significant benefits for biodiversity.

As regards financial support for carbon removing technologies, the Regulation should unlock innovative private and public financing, including impact finance or result-based public support, because carbon removers and carbon farmers can be rewarded based on the certified removals and emissions reductions. The European Parliament and EU Council will now need to formally approve the agreement. Once this is done, the new legislation will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and enter into force.

Source: EUbusiness

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