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Better protection and management of land and forests across the Union: Council adopts a new regulation

Met dank overgenomen van Raad van de Europese Unie (Raad), gepubliceerd op maandag 14 mei 2018.

The Council today adopted a regulation establishing a framework for the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) in the 2030 climate and energy framework.

This legislation will help reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions during the period 2021-2030 through improved protection and management of land and forests across the Union. The new regulation provides a framework for ensuring that emissions and removals generated by this sector are taken into account. This will enable the EU to reach its Paris Agreement target to cut emissions by at least 40% by 2030.

Today we have reached a milestone which recognizes the important role that our green resources, forests, cropland, grassland and wetland, can play in reaching our long-term environmental policy goals. We are fully on track to deliver on our Paris Agreement commitments.

Neno Dimov, Bulgarian Minister of Environment and Water

The new rules will provide member states with incentives for climate-friendly land use, without creating any new restrictions or red tape. The regulation does not set any obligations for private parties, farmers or foresters.

Background and next steps

In its October 2014 conclusions, the European Council made a clear commitment: all sectors, including land use and forestry, should contribute to the EU's target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The regulation on land use and forestry sets out a binding commitment for each member state and the accounting rules for determining compliance. It covers CO2 from forestry and agriculture. It amends Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 and Decision No 529/2013/EU.

Land use and forestry include the use of soils, trees, plants, biomass and timber, which are in a unique position to contribute to a robust climate policy. This is because the sector not only emits greenhouse gases but can also remove CO₂ from the atmosphere. EU forests absorb the equivalent of nearly 10% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions each year.

The European Commission presented its proposal on LULUCF in July 2016. Following detailed discussions between ministers at three Environment Council meetings, the Council reached a general approach on 13 October 2017, and the Estonian Presidency started negotiations with the European Parliament shortly afterwards. This resulted in a provisional agreement on 14 December 2017. EU ambassadors endorsed the deal on 20 December 2017.

After today's formal adoption of this legislation, which is the final step in the process, the regulation will be published in the Official Journal.

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