European Commission under fire for including ‘carbon…

European Commission under fire for including ‘carbon sinks’ (eg. forest) into EU climate goal of 55% cut on 1990 level by 2030
2020-09-20 22:51:00
The EU has a current target of cutting carbon emissions by 40% on the 1990 level by 2030. But with the European Green Deal, it has been proposed that target should be increased to 55%. Some European countries do not want this – while climate experts say even greater carbon cuts are needed.  The European 55% target would include use of “carbon sinks” in the figures, so there is an assumed amount of carbon being absorbed by forests etc, meaning net carbon emissions would appear to be lower than they really are. This might be a difference of 2% or else perhaps 5%.  Some environmental campaign groups said this use of carbon sinks was “an accounting trick” and “Relying on forests to reach climate targets sends the wrong signal that it’s OK to keep polluting because the land will absorb it.” In Europe, forests are currently a net carbon sink because they take in more carbon dioxide than they emit.  But their capacity to absorb CO2 “has been shrinking” over the years, and if left unchecked, could further decline – due to cutting down trees and forest, and damage to them from fires, pests, more demand for biomass, and impacts of climate change. Mature forests have to be kept healthy, and just planting new saplings is not enough. .Tweet   Commission under fire for including ‘carbon sinks’ into EU climate goals By Frédéric Simon | EURACTIV.com 18 Sep 2020 “The target is what counts, we use every method to get there,” said Frans Timmermans, EU Commission vice-president in charge of the Green Deal. The European Commission on Thursday (17 September) defended its plan to bring carbon removals from agriculture, land use and forestry into the EU’s updated climate target for 2030, saying this was in line with UNFCCC standards.  [The proposal to increase the climate ambition from 40% to 55% by 2030 ] “If you look at the logic and the methods applied by UNFCCC, they all include carbon sinks,” said Frans Timmermans, the Commission vice-president in charge of climate policy. “This is exactly what we have done at the European Commission,” he told journalists at a press briefing. “So I think we’re on solid ground here”. Timmermans was speaking after the EU executive officially unveiled its plan to reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, up from 40% currently. The updated 2030 target, announced the day before by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, aims to put the EU in line with its commitments under the Paris Agreement and the bloc’

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