Agriculture committee unveil radical forestry CO2 proposals
Agriculture Committee MEPs have tabled proposals that would make it easier to use forests to offset carbon emissions under the EU's draft 2030 climate and energy rules.
In a report adopted last week, MEPs asked that "forest management" - which involves conservation rather than planting new trees - be factored into EU rules, and voted to hike available carbon credits for forests and grasslands from 280 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent to 425 million.
They say the approach is in line with the 2015 Paris climate deal and reflects "the concerns related to the lower mitigation potential in the agriculture sector".
But their suggestions have been rubbished by climate NGO Transport & Environment (T&E), which says that reducing emissions in farming is no more difficult than in other sectors.
A report commissioned by the group says that using cover or catch crops and crop rotation could aid soil nutrition and drastically reduce farming emissions.
"There is a myth that agriculture cannot reduce emissions," said Carlos Calvo Ambel, T&E's transport and energy analyst. "There is no reason why agriculture should be given a free ride."
The MEPs' position is at odds with a draft report by environment MEPs, who are in the lead on the issue and want to slash forestry credits to 190 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
The 2030 targets, proposed by the EU last July, commit the bloc to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40pc compared to 1990 in all sectors of the economy.