Proposal for a Regulation establishing a Union certification framework for carbon removals

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2022) 672
Publication Date 30/11/2022
Content Type , ,


Legislative initiative tabled by the European Commission on 30 November 2022, setting a voluntary Carbon Removals Certification Framework (CRCF).

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The European Climate Law provides for the European Union (EU) to become climate neutral by 2050. This requires that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are significantly reduced, and that the unavoidable emissions and removals should be balanced within the EU at the latest by 2050, with the aim to achieve negative emissions thereafter. To achieve this objective, both natural ecosystems and industrial activities should contribute to removing several hundred million tonnes of CO2 per year from the atmosphere. Under existing policies, the EU is not on track to deliver these quantities.

In March 2020, the European Commission announced in its Circular Economy Action Plan that it would seek to develop an effective certification framework for the certification of carbon dioxide removals (also known as carbon farming) to incentivise the uptake of carbon removal and to increase circularity of carbon, in full respect of the biodiversity and the zero-pollution objectives. The draft law was eventually adopted by the Commission on 30 November 2022 as part of a Circular Economy Package. Its main objectives are:

  • to ensure the high quality of carbon removals in the EU;
  • to establish an EU governance certification system to avoid greenwashing by correctly applying and enforcing the EU quality framework criteria in a reliable and harmonised way across the EU.

The initiative aims to support the achievement of the 2050 climate neutrality objective set in the European Climate Law, as well as the other environmental objectives of the European Green Deal. It also builds on the Commission's Communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles.

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Commentary and Analysis
Carbon Market Watch: Opinion, 04/11/2022: EU’s Carbon Removals Certification Framework is certifiably problematic
FoodDrink Europe: Resources, 28/11/2022: FoodDrink Europe Position Paper: Carbon Farming
Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy (IATP), 28/11/2022: Carbon farming: How big corporations are driving the EU’s carbon removals agenda
Climate Action Network (CAN Europe): Press Release, 30/11/2022: The Commission's proposal to create a certification framework for carbon removals risks creating big loopholes in EU climate action
European Environmental Bureau (EEB): News, 30/11/2022: Certifiably Problematic: Commission’s plan for Carbon Removals
S&P Global: Commodity Insights, 01/12/2022: European Commission proposes certification of carbon removals to counter greenwashing

EurActiv, 10/11/2022: Commission carbon farming plans leave key questions open
EurActiv, 22/11/2022: EU readies certification of carbon removals to help tackle climate change
EUObserver, 29/11/2022: EU carbon-removal scheme dubbed 'smokescreen for inaction'
Reuters, 30/11/2022: EU takes 'first step' to certify removing CO2 from atmosphere
Bloomberg, 30/11/2022: EU Sets Out Plan to Fight Greenwashing in Drive for Carbon Clean-Up
EurActiv, 30/11/2022: EU Commission wants farmers, landowners to lead carbon removal push
Associated Press (AP News), 30/11/2022: EU climate chief defends plans for ‘carbon farming’
Agriland, 30/11/2022: EU publishes new proposal on carbon farming

EUR-LEX: SWD(2022)377: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal - Impact Assessment Report accompanying the Proposal
EUR-LEX: SWD(2022)378: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal - Executive Summary of the Impact Assessment Report accompanying the Proposal
European Commission: Press Release, 30/11/2022: European Green Deal: Commission proposes certification of carbon removals to help reach net zero emissions
European Commission: Questions and Answers on EU Certification of Carbon Removals (30 November 2022)
European Commission: Opening remarks by Executive Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Sinkevičius at the press conference on the Circular Economy Package (30 November 2022)

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