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EU to set up a system to certify carbon removals in 2022

The EU Commission will propose a certification system for carbon removed from the atmosphere next year, it has announced.

The framework will include transparent, scientifically robust carbon accounting rules to monitor and verify the authenticity and environmental integrity of sustainable carbon removals.

The EU Commission will launch a call for evidence in January 2022, according to its Communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles (23-page, 382KB PDF) which outlines its plans to increase carbon removals from the atmosphere.

Renewables and climate change expert John Yeap of Pinsent Masons said: “There is undoubtedly much that can be done to reduce carbon from agricultural and forestry activities. Harvesting waste for biomass combustion is one economic solution though there are issues around emissions from waste to energy plants. By providing a framework for carbon farming, stakeholders in the sector will be able to quantify and assess their contribution to reducing fossil based carbon emissions.”

As part of its plan to achieve net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2050, the EU wants to reduce its reliance on fossil carbon energy, increase the scale of carbon farming to remove and store more carbon, and promote industrial solutions to remove and recover carbon.

The Commission will develop an internal market for capturing, using and storing carbon and cross-border CO2 transport infrastructure. It aims for five million tonnes of CO2 to be removed annually from the atmosphere and permanently stored through technological solutions by 2030.

The major funding instrument for the technologies in the near future is the Innovation Fund, which is financed by the EU Emissions Trading System.

The Commission has also set out short to medium term actions to support carbon farming and upscale this green business model. They include promoting carbon farming practices under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and other EU programmes and via national public and private financing; standardising the monitoring, reporting and verification methodologies and allowing for voluntary carbon markets development; and providing improved knowledge, data management and tailored advisory services to land managers, both on land and within the ‘blue carbon’ ecosystem.

Blue carbon refers to carbon captured by the world's ocean and coastal ecosystems.

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