With a newly proposed regulation, the European Commission aims to set EU-wide standards for certifying the removal of carbon from the atmosphere, including so-called carbon farming measures. But critics warn the text leaves important gaps.
The proposal, presented by Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans on Wednesday (30 November), aims to help reach the EU’s ambitious climate goals, including net-zero emissions by 2050, by ensuring only duly certified carbon sinks can count as negative emissions.
“The certification framework for carbon removals ensures that whenever a ton of carbon is said to have been taken from the atmosphere, we can verify that claim,” Timmermans, who is also in charge of implementing the EU Green Deal, said during the presentation.
Apart from technical solutions that, for the most part, are still in the testing phase, carbon sinks can be created through nature-based measures such as reforestation or agricultural practices that help store carbon in arable soil, also known as carbon farming.
“We want carbon removals to offer new and additional sources of income for the many farmers who are eager to do more for biodiversity, but struggle to find the necessary funding to do so,” Timmermans said.
Currently, those interested in implementing carbon farming measures struggle to access funding due to the wide variety of and lack of trust in certification schemes, the EU executive explained in the explanatory notes on its proposal.