To achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050, carbon removals from forests, agricultural practises, and technological advancements must become increasingly important.

To achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050, carbon removals from forests, agricultural practises, and technological advancements must become increasingly important.

The EU must always prioritise quick and predictable emission reductions, according to MEPs in a resolution on sustainable carbon cycles that was approved by Parliament on Tuesday with 323 votes to 257 and 59 abstentions. In order for the EU to achieve net-negative emissions after 2050 and become climate neutral, they also caution against placing an undue reliance on future CO2 removals.

The Commission’s intention to establish a framework to identify actions that unmistakably remove carbon from the atmosphere and its proposal for a regulation on establishing an EU certification framework for carbon removals are both noted by the Parliament.

They emphasise the importance of using this new monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) framework to encourage carbon removals.

The EU’s target for carbon removal from land use should be achieved in large part by agriculture and forestry, say MEPs. Improved soil fertility and quality are among the many advantages of adding more carbon to the soil.

The Plenary requests that the Commission make sure that verified data on farm emissions and removals are made available well before 2026 so that they can be used in the legislation governing the Sustainable Food System as well as the upcoming reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.

The opportunity for farmers to change their business model and better reward those who voluntarily engage in a transition towards agro-ecological and sustainable agroforestry practises that also promote biodiversity is presented by carbon farming, according to MEPs.

According to the resolution, scientifically validated and environmentally safe technologies like direct air capture combined with long-term storage can help the EU become climate neutral.

MEPs also emphasise that carbon capture and use (CCU) and carbon capture and storage (CCS)-based approaches can aid in the decarbonization process.

In order to prevent double counting, they ask the Commission to set up a system to track CO2 that has been captured while making a distinction between carbon that has been captured on-site and from the atmosphere.

They vehemently urge the Commission to make clear who is responsible for damage to the environment, climate, and human health if carbon removals are stopped.

“We support sustainable carbon cycles and the idea of carbon farming, which can actively contribute to climate change mitigation,” the report’s author, Alexander Bernhuber (EPP, Austria), said following the vote.

For European agriculture and forestry, carbon farming could become an additional revenue stream. We also think there shouldn’t be any needless red tape or requirements; it should be voluntary and incentive-driven. By 2050, the EU can become carbon neutral by removing carbon from the atmosphere through forests, agriculture, and technological innovations.

This is because every ton of CO2 equivalent that is released into the atmosphere must be offset by a ton of CO2 that is removed from the atmosphere. In December 2021, the Commission adopted the “Communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles”, which sets out an action plan on how to develop sustainable solutions to increase carbon removals.

As stated in Proposal 1(5) of the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe, Parliament is responding to citizens’ expectations by adopting this resolution, which calls for the introduction of a certified system of carbon removal as a component of a safe and sustainable food production.