EU lawmakers move to slash levels of emissions that can be offset by forests and grasslands
A group of EU lawmakers is trying to toughen up the bloc's 2030 climate targets, as the US pulls out of the international Paris climate deal.
MEPs in the European Parliament's environment committee voted last week to make it more difficult to use forests and grasslands to offset emissions cuts under the EU's draft 2030 plan.
That plan sets an overall emission reduction target for the agriculture, transport, building and waste sectors -those not covered by the bloc's carbon trading scheme - of 30pc below 2005 levels, with national targets set per country.
Ireland's proposed target is amongst the highest in the EU at 30pc, but it will be allowed use carbon credits from forests and grasslands to help it meet the high figure.
However, environment MEPs want to slash carbon credits available to all EU countries from 280 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (as the European Commission suggested last year) to 190 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
They also set an 80pc emission reduction target for 2050 and built in incentives for countries that start cutting emissions early, from 2018, offering them more flexibility in later years.
Environment MEPs are at odds with agriculture and industry MEPs, who will get a say on the draft when the entire European Parliament votes on it next week.