Council and Parliament agree to establish an EU carbon removals certification framework

On 20 February the Council and European Parliament negotiators reached a provisional political agreement on a regulation to establish the first EU-level certification framework for permanent carbon removals, carbon farming and carbon storage in products.

The voluntary framework is intended to facilitate and speed up the deployment of high-quality carbon removal and soil emission reduction activities in the EU.

Once entered into force, the regulation will be the first step towards introducing a comprehensive carbon removal and soil emission reduction framework in EU legislation and contribute to the EU’s ambitious goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2050, as set out in the European climate law.

Certified carbon removal and soil emission reduction activities will generate corresponding units (one unit being equal to one metric tonne CO2 equivalent of certified net benefit generated by one of the carbon removal or soil emission reduction activities). The co-legislators have further agreed to include that the certified units can only be used for the EU’s climate objectives and nationally

determined contribution (NDC) and must not contribute to third countries’ NDCs and international compliance schemes. These rules, including on the corresponding adjustments, will be reviewed in 2026.

By 2026, the Commission is tasked with producing a report on the feasibility of certifying activities that result in the reduction of emissions other than those related to soils (carbon and nitrous oxide). The report will be based on a pilot certification methodology for activities that reduce agricultural emissions from enteric fermentation and manure management.

The agreement is pending formal adoption. The provisional agreement will now be submitted for endorsement to the member states’ representatives in the Council (Coreper) and to the Parliament’s environment committee. If approved, the text will then need to be formally adopted by both institutions, following revision by lawyer-linguists, before it can be published in the EU’s Official Journal and enter into force.

The Horizon Europe project BEATLES focuses on behavioural analysis for a transition to fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food systems and the adoption of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) will monitor the progress of this provisional agreement. AEIDL (European Association for Innovation in Local Development), the leading partner for developing policy recommendations and tools,  will analyse how this certification framework can be an opportunity for the project’s Use Cases value chains.

Author: Blanca Casares (AEIDL)