New EU Carbon Farming initiatives aim to fight climate change
The Commission published the final report of a two-year study on setting up and implementing carbon farming in the EU.
Building on this study and other preparatory work – such as input from several EU-funded projects and events –, the Commission plans to launch the carbon farming initiative by the end of 2021.
The study “Technical Guidance Handbook – setting up and implementing result-based carbon farming mechanisms in the EU”, carried out from 2018 to 2020, explored key issues, challenges, trade-offs and design options to develop carbon farming.
The publication reviewed existing schemes about protecting and developing natural carbon sinks and explored how to trigger carbon farming in the EU.
It concludes that carbon farming brings benefits such as carbon sequestration and storage, increased biodiversity, and preservation of eco-systems.
The research also explored how widespread adoption of carbon farming can be triggered in the EU.
This recent study will serve as a guideline to help private actors and public authorities start increasing the number of carbon farming initiatives.
Frans Timmermans Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal said:
“Our climate action must first and foremost reduce human-made emissions.
But we also need to restore and protect natural carbon sinks, so that we can capture CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in our soils and forests.
Carbon farming offers new income opportunities for farmers.
It is an example of how the new Common Agricultural Policy's ecoschemes and private funding can reward agricultural practices that help us fight the climate and biodiversity crises.”
The Commission will promote carbon farming as a new green business model that creates a new source of income for actors in the bioeconomy.
Pilot initiatives should be developed at the local or regional level in order to gather experience to upscale carbon farming.
This will enable improving design aspects, in particular the certification of carbon removals, and expanding stakeholders’ knowledge and understanding of the potential benefits for them.
The research concludes that result-based carbon farming can contribute significantly to the EU’s efforts to tackle climate change, bringing benefits in terms of carbon sequestration and storage and other co-benefits, such as increased biodiversity and preservation of eco-systems.
Carbon farming can be promoted via EU and national policies and private initiatives.
Member States will be able to accelerate the roll-out of carbon farming practices in the context of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), for instance, via eco-schemes or rural development support and through State aid.
This new type of financial support will create a new source of income for land managers.
In addition, as announced in the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Commission is developing a regulatory framework for certifying carbon removals based on robust and transparent carbon accounting to monitor and verify the authenticity of carbon removals.
Nature-based solutions that remove carbon from the atmosphere can help the EU achieve climate neutrality and should therefore be rewarded.
Depending on the outcome of the CAP negotiations, eco-schemes can bring between 38-58 billion Euro to farmers.
The Commission already included carbon farming in its recommendations to the Member States’ CAP Strategic Plans.
Pilot projects are also co-financed by the EU through several channels, like the LIFE Programme and the European Regional Development Fund.
Furthermore, the Commission is organising a workshop on 25 May to help Member States design carbon farming schemes in their CAP Strategic Plans.
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