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EU Co-legislators Reach Provisional Agreement on the World’s First Certification Framework for Carbon Removals

21st February 2024

On 20 February, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on a regulation establishing a voluntary EU-wide certification scheme for carbon removals. 

The agreement marks a significant step towards the integration of carbon removals in the EU’s climate policy framework, and is expected to drive the deployment of carbon removal technologies able to support the EU’s transition to a net-zero economy. 

Initially proposed by the European Commission in November 2022 as a follow-up to the EU communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles, the EU carbon removals certification framework (CRCF) aims to provide assurance around the quality and governance of carbon removals and create a unified carbon removal certification scheme regulating the trading of carbon removal units (each corresponding to one tonne of CO2 removed from the atmosphere through one of the activities covered by the framework). 

As a result of the interinstitutional negotiations, the co-legislators decided to put forward an open definition of climate removal, reflecting the one used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and broaden the scope of the regulation initially proposed by the Commission to incorporate activities resulting in carbon removals and soil emission reductions. 

Notably, the provisionally agreed CRCF outlines four different types of activities to be covered by the framework: 

  • Permanent carbon removals (including BECCS and DACCS), 
  • Temporary carbon storage in long-lasting products and materials, 
  • Temporary carbon farming practices that store CO2 in the soil or forests 
  • Emission reductions in soils from carbon farming  

The CRCF also identifies certification rules for the measurement, monitoring, reporting, and verification of carbon removals. 

In particular, among the regulation’s provisions discussed during the interinstitutional negotiations, the co-legislators decided to: 

  • Maintain the original certification criteria proposed by the Commission to ensure that only carbon removal activities which qualify as additional, measurable, durable, and environmentally sustainable could be eligible for certification; 
  • Set clear monitoring obligation and liability rules for operators; 
  • Task the European Commission to develop tailored certification methodologies for different types of carbon removal activities and including clear liability mechanisms; 
  • Call on the Commission to establish a common and transparent electronic EU-wide registry to make information on the certification and carbon removal units publicly available and accessible. 

The provisionally agreed regulation now needs to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. Once adopted by the two co-legislators, the CRCF will enter into force following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. 

Read more here 

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