EU Carbon Removals Certification Framework Agreement

On February 20, negotiators from the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement to establish the EU's first certification framework for carbon removals, carbon farming, and carbon storage in products. This represents a revolutionary step forward in growing the carbon removal industry, enhancing carbon removal and achieving Climate Neutrality by 2050.

This voluntary framework aims to facilitate and accelerate high-quality carbon removal and soil emission reduction activities in the EU.

This regulation marks a step towards integrating a comprehensive carbon removal and soil emission reduction framework into EU legislation, contributing to the EU's 2050 climate neutrality goal under the European climate law.

The framework covers atmospheric or biogenic carbon removals and differentiates between permanent carbon removal, temporary carbon storage in products, carbon farming, and soil emission reduction activities. It extends the scope to include soil emission reductions and specifies activity duration requirements.

Activities must meet quantification, additionality, long-term storage, and sustainability criteria. The Commission will develop certification methodologies, with priorities for certain activities.

Units correspond to one metric tonne CO2 equivalent of certified net benefit. Certified units are exclusively for the EU's climate objectives and must not contribute to third countries’ NDCs.

Clear obligations and rules are set for operators, including liability for CO2 release reversals during the monitoring period.

A common EU-wide registry will be established four years post-regulation enforcement to make certification information publicly accessible.

Providing a framework for carbon removal represents a significant initial step towards tangible efforts to reduce carbon emissions, especially as carbon offsets have proven to be disappointing. The research, published last year by the Guardian, Die Zeit, and SourceMaterial, has exposed that forest carbon offsets certified by Verra, the world’s leading certifier for the $2 billion voluntary offsets market and utilized by corporations such as Disney, Shell, and Gucci, are largely ineffective and might worsen global heating. It found that over 90% of the rainforest offset credits, which are popular among companies, are "phantom credits" that do not equate to real carbon reductions. This investigation casts significant doubt on the claims of carbon neutrality made by various renowned companies, questioning the actual effectiveness of these offsets in addressing the climate crisis.