On 14 and 15 September the European Commission organised a stakeholders meeting on climate change and agriculture. The main issue at stake was how the LULUCF sector (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry) will be integrated in the 2030 EU Climate and Energy Framework. This sector includes emissions from croplands, grasslands and forest management, and it is a carbon sink in Europe, which means that its integration could weaken the European effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). One of the options put forward by the Commission could also exempt the agriculture sector from any significant reduction effort.
DG CLIMA reminded the participants that agriculture and land based emissions will grow in relative importance and that by 2050 the agriculture sector will represent a third of total EU emissions, tripling its current share. But some Member States highlighted the need for more “flexibility” because in the countries in which agriculture represent a high share of their non-ETS emissions (e.g. Denmark, France, Ireland), the intensity of the effort needed to reduce them would create “competition distortion” with other countries. Some of the conclusions of the workshop were that a repartition of the effort between Member States based on GDP/capita key (as it is the case for non-ETS sectors) may not be the best solution for a potential LULUCF target; and that carbon audits at the farm level could both contribute to improving the reliability of national statistics and to helping farmers identifying the measures best adapted to their farms and local conditions. DG AGRI also made a presentation on how Rural Development Plans measures can be used by Member States to “mainstream” climate action in agriculture.
The proposal for a new Effort Sharing Decision, that will indicate how Member States will have to share the GHG emissions reduction effort necessary to reach the 40% EU objective by 2030, and the decision on LULUCF, are expected in the first half of 2016. The Commission organised a consultation that closed in June. The replies to the consultation on LULUCF organised by the Commission are available here.
The twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is currently taking place in Paris. Agriculture is not a core topic for the conference, but is addressed by a number of side-events.