Today, under Estonia’s guidance, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reached a provisional agreement on a regulation on land-use and forestry (LULUCF), which contributes to the achievement of the climate goals.
‘Forests have a special role as climate regulators, which is why it is important that the land and forest sectors contribute to the achievement of the climate goals and not work against them. The general principle is that carbon sequestration and emissions in the forestry and land use sectors need to be balanced, and with the regulation, we agree on how we will be able to account for emissions related to these sectors’, explained Siim Kiisler, Minister of the Environment.
It has not been easy finding a solution suitable for all countries, as the forest coverage and forest management practices in the 28 Member States of the European Union vary greatly. The rules, however, must be fair to all and respect local specifics. In Finland, for example, forest accounts for 75% of the total territory of the country, while Malta has less than 1% of forest areas.
‘We have been doing very intensive work for nearly half a year for this agreement, and I am very pleased that our work has been successful and we have another important issue to add to the success list of our presidency,’ said Kiisler.
By 2030, the European Union plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 40% compared to 1990 levels. To this end, emissions must be reduced in both the industrial and energy sectors that are part of the emissions trading system (ETS), but also in non-trading sectors (ESRs, Effort Sharing Regulations), i.e. in transport, agriculture, waste management, industrial processes and small-scale energy production (including energy saving in buildings) as well as in land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF).
The European Union’s climate policy draft legislation has undergone major developments under the guidance of Estonia. Today, it has already been decided how to reform emissions trading, which is the cornerstone of the EU’s climate policy.
So far, Estonia has also proceeded from the principles of sustainable forestry in the management of forests, and therefore, the implementation of the regulation does not lead to major changes for Estonia. Detailed impact assessments will be revealed in the coming years, after precise accounting rules have been established and activities in the new forestry development plan have been agreed on.
On 20 December, ambassadors of the European Union Member States will be discussing the provisional agreement, followed by voting in the European Parliament. The final step is adopting the draft at a Council meeting.