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Florence School of Transnational Governance

The EU should learn by doing on land-based CO2 removals, STG experts say

The recent IPCC assessment report was crystal clear. Drastic and swift reductions in reducing greenhouse gas emissions need to be accompanied by the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

28 April 2022 | Publication


In a new policy brief, a team of climate experts at the EUI School of Transnational Governance led by Prof Jos Delbeke describes how EU climate policy could progressively include measures to remove CO2 linked to farming and forestry activities:

  • The policy brief explores the potential role of land-based removals in future EU climate policy, how to overcome some of its challenges like the intrinsic non-permanence, the risk of reversals and the linkages to other environmental and social issues.
  • This policy brief recommends following a pragmatic stepwise approach of learning by doing. A transparent and dynamic EU-wide certification system should be created starting with a limited number of land-based removal activities. The certification process needs to be guided by robust governance arrangements with clearly defined roles of different players and sufficient checks and balances. The system still needs to be simple without overburdening interested participants administratively.
  • In the medium term, the policy brief envisions an EU-wide certification system to pave the way for designing effective and efficient incentives rewarding farmers and foresters for enhancing carbon dioxide removals and the capacity of natural carbon sinks in a sustainable manner. Such incentives could be provided through setting specific removal targets, direct support, e.g. in the context of carbon farming schemes under the Common Agricultural Policy or via market-based instruments, such as voluntary carbon markets or connecting carbon dioxide removal certificates to the EU emissions trading system.

Certifying land-use based carbon dioxide removals – outline of a strawman proposal
STG Policy Papers – Issue 2022/11 APRIL 2022

Authors: Artur Runge-Metzger, Linde Zuidema, Peter Vis and Jos Delbeke

Last update: 28 April 2022

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