EU policy moves toward farming and forestry emission reduction targets

Commission proposal outlining common accounting standards is "first step" towards including sectors in carbon policy

The EU has proposed first steps towards incorporating the last major sectors without standardised rules into its carbon reduction targets.

Unlike most major sectors, measuring and monitoring land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) emissions were beyond scientific capability when the Kyoto Protocol setting international emissions reduction targets was signed in 1997.

The EU claimed increasing the amount of trapped carbon by just 0.1 percentage point through activities such as improved forest or grassland management would remove annual emissions equivalent to 100 million cars from the atmosphere.

The scientific progress in measuring land use-related emissions made since 1997, coupled with an international agreement at the Durban climate talks last year, has encouraged Brussels to close the gap in common accounting standards represented by forestry and agriculture.

"In Durban, all countries agreed revised accounting rules for these sectors. The EU is now delivering with this proposal. The proposal will also contribute to protect biodiversity and water resources, support rural development, and have a more climate-friendly agriculture."