Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 21 August 2017

EU lawmakers move to slash levels of emissions that can be offset by forests and grasslands

Ireland aims to increase the level of forestry cover from 11pc of the country's total area to 18pc
Ireland aims to increase the level of forestry cover from 11pc of the country's total area to 18pc
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang

Sarah Collins

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.

Targets


They will then have to convince EU governments, whose sign-off is required before the rules become law.

The EU has insisted it is sticking to its 2030 targets, despite US president Donald Trump's announcement that he is pulling out of the Paris accords, which was signed by 195 countries in 2015 and designed to keep global warming well below 2 degrees celsius.

EU climate and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said the US decision marked a "sad day for the global community" but said it had "galvanised us rather than weakened us".

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani said the bloc would "take it forward with or without the US administration", while European Council president Donald Tusk called it a "big mistake".

Chinese premier Li Keqiang, in Brussels for an EU summit, vowed to uphold the deal, as did the 54-country African Union in a joint statement with the EU.

But BusinessEurope, the companies' federation, said the bloc "cannot shoulder what other major economies have committed to deliver" and called on EU leaders to "assess the implications of the US decision".

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