Currently, the European Commission is assessing policy options for how to integrate LULUCF and will come up with a legislative proposal in due course of 2016.
In March 2015 the Commission DG Climate released a public consultation on the topic, which closed in June. The consultation put forward three policy options for how to include LULUCF:
- Option 1 – LULUCF pillar: Maintain non-CO2 agriculture sector emissions in a potential future Effort Sharing Decision and further develop a LULUCF sector policy approach separately;
- Option 2 – Land use sector pillar: Merging the LULUCF and agriculture non-CO2 emissions into one new and independent pillar of the EU’s climate policy;
- Option 3 – Effort Sharing: Include the LULUCF sector in a potential future Effort Sharing Decision.
The meaning and consequences of the outlined options are not clear, as they depend on targets, accounting rules and flexibility to compensate emissions and sinks between different sectors. CEPF does not support Option 2 and is concerned about the actual consequences of Option 3. Therefore CEPF opted for Option 1, but opens up for the possibility to consider a 4th option, where forest is treated in a separate pillar. This could make it easier to create a framework tailored to the specific character of forests and forestry. In CEPF’s response to the consultation, emphasis was put on:
- the concept of sustainable forest management as well as the carbon sequestration, storage and substitution effects in forests and multiple wood and wood-based products, including bioenergy, should be further promoted and recognized in the EU climate and energy policy;
- the EU should not intervene into national forest policy and define forest growth and harvesting rates in the Member States via its climate policy;
- accounting rules must allow increased production and use of forests and timber;
- overall, and independent of all options outlined, the aim should be to develop comprehensive, simple and transparent accounting rules. An Option 4 – a separate forest pillar – should be considered.
The Commission’s impact assessment and the results of the consultation will be presented at a stakeholder conference in September 2015.