EU APPROVES RULES FOR MONITORING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONSINCLUDING FORESTRY AND AGRICULTURE

The European Commission welcomes the European Parliament's approval today of two new laws to improve EU rules on monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, including those from forestry and agriculture. It is expected that the Council adopts these laws, after which they will be published in the Official Journal and will enter into force.

 

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "These new rules will help Europe develop robust evidence-based climate policies and keep better track of progress towards meeting our emission targets. They improve transparency, coordination and the quality of data reported, and forest and agriculture emissions will now be accounted for in a harmonised way. We hope that these new rules will also set an example in the context of the international climate negotiations and serve as a benchmark for transparency of climate action by other countries."

 

Monitoring Mechanism

 

The so-called Monitoring Mechanism Regulation enhances the current reporting rules on Member States' greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in order to meet requirements arising from current and future international climate agreements as well as the 2009 climate and energy package.

 

The revised Monitoring Mechanism aims to help the EU and Member States keep track of progress towards meeting their emission targets for 2013-2020 and to facilitate further development of the EU climate policy mix.

 

The EU and Member States already cooperate to monitor and report GHG emissions, producing annual GHG inventories which are used to assess progress towards meeting Kyoto Protocol emission targets. They also gather and publish information on GHG projections and on their policies and measures to reduce emissions.

 

The revised rules aim to improve the quality of data reported and introduce some new elements, such as:

Reporting of emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF);

 

Reporting of Member States' adaptation to climate change;

 

Reporting of Member States' and the EU's low-carbon development strategies;

 

Reporting on financial and technical support provided to developing countries, and commitments arising from the 2009 Copenhagen Accord and 2010 Cancún Agreements;

 

Reporting on Member States' use of revenues from the auctioning of allowances in the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS). Member States have committed to spend at least half of the revenue from such auctions on measures to fight climate change in the EU and third countries.

 

 

Land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF)

 

The second law approved today establishes common rules for accounting for GHG emissions and removals of carbon from the atmosphere resulting from activities related to land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). The decision represents a first step towards incorporating the forestry and agriculture sectors, the last major sectors without common EU-wide rules on GHG, into EU climate policy.

 

Forests and agricultural lands cover more than three-quarters of the EU territory and naturally hold large stocks of carbon, preventing its escape into the atmosphere. If their capacity to "trap" carbon were improved by just 10 percentage points – for example through improved forest or grassland management – this would remove the annual emissions of 10 million cars from the atmosphere.

 

With the new rules the EU is delivering on a decision taken at the UN climate change conference in 2011 to revise accounting rules for GHG emissions and removals from soils and forests.

 

The improved accounting rules will better recognise the efforts of farmers and forest owners and their good practices aimed at securing carbon stored in forests and soils. They will also contribute to protecting biodiversity and water resources and supporting rural development and more climate-friendly agriculture.

 

The LULUCF decision requires Member States to report on their actions to increase removals of carbon and decrease emissions of greenhouse gases from forests and soils. The law does not include national emission reduction targets for these sectors. These may come in a second step, once the accounting rules have proven robust.

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