International and particularly European institutions are experts in creating incomprehensible acronyms. In the past for instance, the DGs of the European Commission were indicated with Roman numerals (DG XII stood for research, DG VIII for cooperation and development, and so on). This changed to using full names, such as DG Environment, DG Research and Innovation… however the idea has always been to use acronyms which could be understood by insiders: DG ECHO, DG EAS, EEAS…

It therefore should not come as a surprise that LULUCF means “Land use, Land Use Change and Forestry”. This is also the title of an EU proposal for regulation – currently being discussed at Parliament and Council – on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework (COM(2016)0479) .

Climate change is catastrophic and all even more present (tidal waves, cyclones, droughts, forest fires…) and it must be dealt with by all Member States together. The December 2015 Paris Agreements is the milestone to look to, if we want to make action and hope for success. In the Paris text, however soil is not present. Moreover, it is not undeliberate. To reach an agreement, consensus was needed. Soil presents complexities not only from a technical perspective but also socially and ethnically. This is why the French authorities launched the parallel 4per1000 Initiative, of which the SIP Forum is a partner, and of which we share news in all of our newsletters.

In Paris, European policies were “made aware” that to reach the objectives related to long-term climate mitigation a contribution from land and forest use is essential. The European Commission therefore prepared a proposal, which was presented to Parliament and to the Council in 2016 on the inclusion of land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) into the 2030 climate and energy framework. This proposal, which is currently being reviewed, is going to join the one on EU climate policy, which is replacing the Kyoto Protocol due to expire at the end of 2020.

The proposal for regulation is meant to affect emissions and greenhouse gas removals to the following soil categories: a) afforested land; b) deforested land; c) managed cropland; d) managed grassland; e) managed forestland. Dictated by reasons of both accounting and continuity with the 2013 regulation, this “classification” allows all Member States to be able to calculate the effects of carbon accumulation or loss and present a report to the Commission.

How is LULUCF going to contribute at EU level to reducing CO2 emissions by 30% by the year 2030 in comparison to the 2005 gas emissions? It should outline goals for the Member States, which should be kept but should at the same time be realistic and able to be controlled by specific accounting methods (emissions and storages). The required amount however must be “compensated” by the proposal to hold compliance checks every five years as opposed to each year.

This proposal for regulation by the Commission is not satisfactory for many MePs who deem it too “lenient”, and based on unclear statements, and lacking real aims to act on land protection and related action. The European Parliament is therefore presenting a series of amendments to make the proposal more incisive. Aside from considering soil more, these amendments are aimed at a careful evaluation of implications on social aspects related to those groups who are poorest and risking hunger in the EU.

We strongly encourage you to read all the amendments, and keep up-to-date on their outcome. The debate in place is certainly constructive, and anyone is free to contact a MeP to express an opinion. Names and details of the MEPs are available on the website of the European Parliament, however if you already have names then the email address will have the following format: name.surname@europarl.europa.eu

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