EU Agriculture as a World Leader in Carbon Sequestration Certification

Ing. Jan Staš
July 19, 2022
Climate and carbon credits

We have already informed you in a number of previous blog articles that responsible agriculture has great potential for solving the climate crisis. We wrote about the general connection between agriculture and climate, about specific methods of cattle breeding and their different influence on the amount of CO2 produced or for example about different ways which helps agriculture to capture excess carbon from the air, respectively carbon dioxide.

Carbon Farming as a term used by the EU

In recent months, the term Carbon Farming (i.e. carbon management), which is not far from regenerative agriculture, has resonated very much. This is mainly due to the work of the European Commission, which has the task of implementing partial goals of the European Green Deal into practice, and which uses the term in newly prepared documents and upcoming legislative amendments.

As the Vice-President of the European Commission (EC) Hans Trimmermans pointed out in a December 2021 speech, agriculture directly supports diversity, returning to natural processes and participating in the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere is one of the ways to fight the climate crisis effectively. The topic is therefore one of the priorities for the EC and the EU.

But what does this mean in practice? Will the agricultural sector in the European Union have to undergo a fundamental change? Is promoting carbon sequestration one of the ways the EU is trying to get closer to sustainability and climate change goals?

Vojtěch Bašný and Filip Hloušek, environmental lawyers from Deloitte Czech Republic, specialize in EU legislation in the agricultural sector and know the answers to these questions. We have therefore prepared a short summary for you, which explains how the EU currently thinks about Carbon Farming.

Sustainable carbon cycle in agriculture

As part of the EU's climate goals to reduce carbon emissions, attain climate neutrality, and implement adaptation measures, the creation of a sustainable carbon cycle will play a key role. In this context, the European Commission adopted on 15 December 2021 Communication on a sustainable carbon cycle (COM 2021 800 final).

A sustainable climate-resilient carbon cycle should be based on three pillars:

  • (1) Decarbonisation strategy in the industry, transport, construction and energy)
  • (2) Recycling of carbon from waste, sustainable biomass or directly from the atmosphere and its use in sectors that will continue to be dependent on carbon (recycling and use of carbon should enable new approaches and technologies such as bioeconomy in forestry and agriculture or technology "carbon capture and use").
  • (3) Increasing carbon sequestration through agricultural and forestry measures or through industrial solutions.

Above all, the third pillar directly affects the area of ​​agriculture and forestry, as natural ecosystems will be key to achieving negative emissions and compensating for produced emissions. In this regard, the European Commission is also proposing an amendment to the LULUCF Regulation with the aim of achieving by 2035 that absorption from terrestrial ecosystems balances emissions from land, livestock and fertilizer use. However, the LULUCF regulation sets targets at the level of the member states and does not specify exact conditions or tools for motivating individual farmers and foresters as entities that manage specific ecosystems and bear the associated costs.

Certification system and carbon credits as a motivation for farmers

In order to increase the motivation of farmers and foresters, the European Commission is committed to presenting a proposal for an EU legal framework for a certification system for accounting and certifying the absorption of emissions from agriculture and forestry at the level of economic entities and their land, by the end of 2022.

Currently, until May 5, 2022, a public consultation of the EC is launched as part of the preparation of this legislative framework. You also have the opportunity to find out the direction of the EU and influence the creation of future rules - on the EC website entitled Certification of carbon removals – EU rules.

The main objective of the intended legislative innovations is to create a unified framework that would set requirements for monitoring, reporting and verification of absorbed emissions and to support a voluntary trading model with verified carbon credits.

This business model is based on the assumption that products from such certified resources with greater added value will have a competitive advantage in the market over standard production, and verified carbon sequestration credits will be in demand by entities that want to improve their carbon footprint and market position in relation to conscious consumers.

  • Vojtěch Bašný and Filip Hloušek from Deloitte were speakers at the conference Živá krajina 2022. In their lecture, they explained this topic in even greater detail. The recording of their presentation is already available on our YouTube channel.

Do you have questions or other observations on the topic? Share them with us via e-mail Thank you!

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