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Land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF)
European Union Carbon Market Glossary

 

 

 

UNFCCC framework

 

 

Land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) is a category within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) accounting framework for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

 

It includes the carbon pools of living biomass (above and below ground), dead organic matter (dead wood and litter) and organic soil carbon.

 

Emissions from land-use change (such as permanent pasture to arable) and deforestation are also reported under this category.

 

The land-use sector (managed cropland, forestry etc.) can be responsible for GHG emissions (for example from deforestation or draining of wetlands) as well as removals of GHG from the atmosphere (notably CO2 which is absorbed by plant growth and agricultural soil management).

 

Harvested wood products can be a store of carbon (for example when used as building materials), but can also cause GHG emissions (for example when burned as biomass for energy).

 

The EU Member States are bound by the rules of the Kyoto Protocol untill 2020.

 

The said Protokol is aimed to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions from land use are compensated by equivalent removals of CO2 made possible by additional action (such as planting new trees) in the sector (the ‘no-debit rule’).

 

There are no formal commitments for the period after expiry of the Kyoto Protocol.

 

Within the UNFCCC reporting refers to information included in annual national GHG inventory.

 

Accounting refers to the use of the reported information to meet GHG reduction commitments made by the countries under the Kyoto Protocol (KP).

 

The LULUCF sector represents a highly complex and dynamic system, where a a number of specific features araise, in particular:


- high uncertainty of emission/removal estimates;


- factoring out, i.e. the difficulty to separate anthropogenic effects from very variable natural background emissions and removals;


-additionality, i.e. the difficulty to distinguish the effects of anthropogenic mitigation actions beyond business as usual projections;


- saturation, and permanence, i.e. the potential of sink pools is not unlimited, and may become a source in the future;


- widely varying national circumstances: difficult to agree on rules applicable to all Parties (even, potentially, within the EU).

 

Given these complexities, a double track has been implemented for LULUCF:

 

1. land-based approach (under the UNFCCC, Parties report all emissions/removals that occur on managed lands, i.e. "land uses" subject to direct human activities, assuming that most of these emissions/removals are anthropogenic.); and

 

2. activity-based approach (under the Kyoto Protocol reporting and accounting is restricted to activities occurring on subsets of lands reported to UNFCCC, furthermore, additional reporting requirements exist, e.g. land identification and tracking, demonstrating that uncounted pools are not sources, and demonstrating that some activities are directly-human induced, etc.).

 

 

Decision No 529/2013/EU of 21 May 2013

 


Decision No 529/2013/EU of 21 May 2013 of the European Parliament and Council (LULUCF Decision) lays down accounting rules for greenhouse gas emissions and removals resulting from land use, land-use change and forestry.

 

LULUCF Decision has entered into force in June 2013.

 

The legal framework of this decision outlines rules for how Member States must account for the various land use activities defined for the period 2013-2020 and subsequent periods.

 

The rules and methodologies laid down in the LULUCF Decision are fully consistent with current IPCC guidelines.

 

The LULUCF Decision includes, in accordance with international obligations, mandatory accounting for forest activities, sets out a road map for how to prepare GHG accounting for management of agricultural soils, which will become mandatory after 2020 and provides for voluntary accounting for the activities of wetland drainage and rewetting.

 

Article 10 of the LULUCF Decision stipulates obligations for the EU Member States to report information on their national LULUCF actions.

 

 

European Commission‘s proposal of 20 July 2016

 

 

On 20 July 2016, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal concerning GHG emissions and removals from LULUCF (Proposal for a Regulation on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework and amending Regulation No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other information relevant to climate change (COM(2016) 479 final - 2016/0230 (COD)).

 

The proposal covered the draft legal framework for GHG emissions and removals from the LULUCF sector from 2021 onwards.

 

The scope included carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

 

This sector comprises mainly forest land and agricultural land, as well as land whose use has changed to, or from, one of these uses.

 

The approach, which is aligned with the UNFCCC ‘land-based’ reporting framework, simplified and adapted the current accounting methodology under the Kyoto Protocol.

 

Similar to Kyoto Protocol commitments, each EU Member State would have to ensure that the LULUCF sector on its territory has no net emissions (save for some flexibilities) over two five-year periods (2021-2025 and 2026-2030) - the ‘no debit rule’.

 

The flexibilities proposed by the European Commission on 20 July 2016 included:

 

- the EU Member States may accumulate net removals over the 10-year period,


- excess removals may be transferred to other EU Member States,


- the EU Member States would be allowed to use removals from the LULUCF sector towards their obligations under the Effort Sharing Regulation (up to 280 million tonnes CO2 at EU level over the 2021-2030 period),


- Member States with a larger agricultural sector would have more flexibility.

 

Accounting rules in the European Commission’s proposal were based on the LULUCF Decision:

 

- the rules exclude double-counting,


- reporting would be annual,


- compliance checks would take place every five years,


- the methodology for accounting for harvested wood products in maintained,


- emissions from biomass used in energy would be accounted for (which is not the case under the existing legislation),


- the EU Member States would be allowed to exclude emissions from natural disturbances (such as forest fires or pest invasions) from their accounts.

 

The proposal also amended the EU ETS Monitoring and Reporting Regulation (525/2013/EU) in order to extend the GHG reporting requirements.

 

 

Outcome of trilogue negotiations 

 

 

Trilogue negotiations with the Council regarding the above European Commission’s proposal of 20 July 2016 started on 19 October 2017 and concluded with a provisional agreement in the third meeting on 14 December 2017.

 

The agreed text retained the flexibility on the accounting of managed forests, however, with some modifications:

 

1. flexibility can be used up to 360 million tonnes of CO2 and will be available to all Member States;

 

2. ‘managed forest land’ flexibility mechanism can only be activated if:

 

- the EU collectively meets the ‘no-debit’ rule,

 

- the EU Mamber States’ national forests still represent a carbon sink, up to an amount calculated for each Member State on the basis of their average sink over the 2000-2009 period.

 

Other trilogue alignments covered the following areas:

 

1. national forest management reference levels will be set on the basis of historical levels in the period 2000- 2009;

 

2. managed wetlands, which store large amounts of CO2, will be included in the accounting system for the 2026-2030 period;

 

3. from 2030, Member States’ CO2 removals should exceed emissions, in line with the EU’s long-term objectives and the Paris Agreement.

 

The European Parliament approved the LULUCF Regulation on 17 April 2018, and the Council did so, as a final legislative step, on 14 May 2018, hence, from the latter date the new law is formally adopted and will be published in the EU Official Journal.

 

Under the adopted LULUCF Regulation the EU Member States have to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions from land use, land use change or forestry are offset by at least an equivalent removal of CO₂ from the atmosphere in the period 2021 to 2030 ( the "no-debit" rule).

 

It means, for example, that forest land changed to another use, such as settlements – has to be compensated by an equivalent afforestation effort, or by improving sustainable management of existing forests beyond a projected benchmark.

 

The LULUCF Regulation is the third pillar of the EU's 2030 climate and energy framework.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG 0744

    Documentation    





 

 

 

14 May 2018 - Regulation on land use, land use change and forestry in 2030 climate and energy framework adopted

 

Adopted text of the LULUCF Regulation: Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry in the 2030 climate and energy framework, and amending Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 and Decision No 529/2013/EU, 14 April 2018, 2016/0230 (COD), PE-CONS 68/17

  

Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 13 September 2017 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC to continue current limitations of scope for aviation activities and to prepare to implement a global market-based measure from 2021 (COM(2017)0054 – C8-0028/2017 – 2017/0017(COD))

 

Proposal for a Regulation on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework and amending Regulation No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other information relevant to climate change, 20.01.2016 (COM(2016) 479 final - 2016/0230 (COD))

 

European Parliament, Briefing, EU Legislation in Progress, Land use in the EU 2030 climate and energy framework, 23 January 2018

 

Consultation on addressing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and LULUCF in the context of the 2030 EU climate and energy framework

 

Decision No 529/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on accounting rules on greenhouse gas emissions and removals resulting from activities relating to land use, land-use change and forestry and on information concerning actions relating to those activities

 

European Parliament Briefing, Initial Appraisal of a European Commission Impact Assessment, Inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change, and forestry (LULUCF) into the 2030 climate and energy framework, December 2016

 

European Parliament resolution of 28 April 2015 on ‘A new EU Forest Strategy: for forests and the forest-based sector’ (2014/2223(INI))

 

European Parliament resolution of 5 February 2014 on a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies (2013/2135(INI))


Agriculture and LULUCF in the 2030 Framework, ICF Consulting, May 2016


LULUCF contribution to the 2030 EU climate and energy policy, Roberto Pilli et al., Joint Research Centre, 2016 

 

 

 

 

 

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    Links    

 

 

 

 

 

European Commission website on LULUCF Regulation 

 

UNFCCC website on LULUCF

 

Procedure 2016/0230/COD Eurlex

 

European Parliament procedure file 2016/230/COD

 

EU Biofuels Policy: Dealing With Indirect Land Use Change

 

Effort Sharing Decision

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 25 May 2018 11:59
 

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