11 Mar 2024, 13:31
Franca Quecke

EU-wide carbon removal certification deal is important step towards climate targets - German ministry

Clean Energy Wire

An agreement by the majority of EU member states on a draft for an EU wide standardised and voluntary certification framework for CO2 removal and carbon farming marks an important step for the bloc towards reaching international climate targets, the German economy and climate action ministry (BMWK) has said. Although greenhouse gas reduction must continue to be a priority in climate protection policy, a ramp-up of CO2 removal technologies would be necessary in order to achieve the Paris Agreement's targets, said state secretary Sven Giegold. “The EU carbon removal certification framework will create standardised and transparent rules for earning money from certified activities,” he said, adding that this could become a new source of income for farmers and forest owners.

Already in February, the European Parliament, the EU Council and the Commission reached a provisional agreement on carbon removal standards. The agreement must now be formally confirmed by the EU Parliament before certification methods and regulations for monitoring, reporting and verification for the various types of activity can be developed, the ministry said. Certifiable activities will include permanent CO2 removals, for example from direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS) and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). CO2 removals and reductions in emissions from carbon farming (for example through restoring forests and soil, wetland management, and in seagrass meadows) are also included in the agreement. The ministry added that the planned certification framework does not relate to carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities, which capture emissions from industrial and other processes directly from the source, not from the air.

Most scenarios drawn up by researchers and government for climate neutrality by mid-century, including by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), say carbon removal measures like carbon farming will be necessary beyond just bringing down greenhouse gas emissions. In a long-term strategy on negative emissions, to be presented by the end of 2024, the German government plans to lay out a target to have more greenhouse gas emissions removed from the atmosphere by 2060 than are annually emitted. 

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