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Öko-Institut report calls for separate land use climate policy

The European Union (EU) has a target to reduce emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030. This is an economy-wide target and therefore includes the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector. The EU recently consulted stakeholders on how to integrate LULUCF into the EU’s 2030 Climate and Energy Framework.In the impact assessment prepared for the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, the European Commission identified three principal options for future policy design.  These three options form the basis of the options the EU is consulting on:

Option 1: LULUCF pillar: Maintain non-CO2 Agriculture sector emissions in the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD), and further develop a LULUCF sector policy approach separately

Option 2: Land Sector Pillar: Merge the LULUCF and non-CO2 Agriculture sector emissions into one new independent pillar of the EU’s climate policy4

Option 3: Include LULUCF in the ESD

Just days before the European Union closed its consultation on the role that land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) should play in EU climate effort, new research by the Öko Institut revealed that including this sector in emissions reductions plans would cause havoc in the EU’s climate and energy package, and could undermine the EU’s climate target by more than 10 per cent, in effect meaning the EU’s target would not be ‘at least 40 per cent’, as it pledged, but 35 per cent or lower. 2 This would go against the EU’s commitment in its international climate pledge that LULUCF would be treated with ‘environmental integrity’. To avoid this, the report recommends that the EU creates a LULUCF pillar and that changes are made to accounting rules.

The lead author of the study, Hannes Böttcher said: “The EU has not been clear about all the rules that will be used. Many assumptions needed to be made in the study, for example on how much wood we plan to harvest from EU forests. The research shows that small assumptions and rule changes have large impacts on the 2030 CO2 target, so it is important to have this information to make a well-informed response to the consultation.”

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Issue 43