Brexit could halt climate change deal
Published 29/06/2016 | 02:30
IN BREXIT fallout news, EU governments might not see the publication of the Commission's climate change proposals by July 20, as expected.
The Commission intends to table proposals as a follow-up to the international climate agreement in Paris in January, which requires a 30pc reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in sectors not covered by the emissions trading scheme such as agriculture, as part of an overall aim to reduce total emissions by 40pc by 2030.
Climate chief Miguel Arias Cañete is preparing two pieces of legislation, one on effort sharing by non-ETS sectors, and one on how forestry can help offset the need for emissions cuts.
Mr Cañete appeared before MEPs in the European Parliament's agriculture committee last week, before the UK referendum, to say the EU was on track to deliver the proposals before the summer break.
However, senior EU sources say that all timetables are out the window following the Brexit vote.
At the parliamentary hearing, Mr Cañete outlined the proposals in brief, saying he would keep land use, land use change and forestry (known as the LULUCF sector) as a separate pillar under the rules.
He said he would "update and simplify" the accounting rules on LULUCF and look at "enhancing existing flexibility" to allow for LULUCF credits to offset emissions in the agricultural, transport and building sectors.
"The agricultural, forestry and land use sectors are very much part of the solution," Mr Cañete said.
"The Commission recognises that member states which have a very high share of agricultural non-CO2 emissions face disproportionate pressure to achieve the targets," he added.
"Allowing the use of LULUFC credits to offset emissions in the effort-sharing decisions should help to alleviate those challenges."
However, he said "only those type of credits that fulfil accounting standards of high environmental integrity" would be allowed and that access to such credits "cannot be unlimited".
Ireland is one of several member states that is pushing for maximum flexibility in accounting rules.
It is looking to ensure that afforestation, which is being used as a key carbon sink, can substitute for the need for more drastic reductions in emissions from farming.