Climate action in Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry in the EU Member States

A new study for DG Climate Action of the European Commission by IEEP and partners investigates land use, land use change, and forestry (LULUCF) actions reported by EU Member States.

Trees, woody vegetation, and soils are natural carbon “sinks”, yet the way the land is used and managed can also be a source of emissions, both of carbon and of other GHGs. LULUCF sinks and sources are currently covered by international obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, but not by the EU’s internal climate targets for 2020. They will, however, be included in the EU’s climate and energy targets from 2021 onwards. The relevant changes to EU legislation reflect the commitments made at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris in December 2015. The “Paris Agreement” is very clear that the contribution from land use and forests in reaching the long term climate mitigation objectives will be critical.

Member States are required by the current EU legislation to report regularly on the action they are taking to reduce net emissions from LULUCF. The study presents the findings from a review of the first two rounds of reports submitted by Member States under Article 10 of the LULUCF Decision (Decision No 529/2013/EU) reveals a wide range of activity. Nearly 680 measures and policies were reported. Many of them focus on forest management and afforestation, but there is also a significant number of measures in the agriculture sector, especially in grassland management and management of nutrients, tillage, and water.

A snap overview of the study findings is provided in the brochure. For more information on the study or IEEP’s wider work on land use and bioeconomy, please contact Ben Allen.

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