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John Brosnan. Photo: John Power

Negotiators from the European Parliament & Council have reached a provisional agreement on an EU certification scheme for permanent carbon removals, carbon farming & carbon storage. The new voluntary framework is meant to speed up the deployment of carbon removal & soil emission reduction.

The provisional agreement will now be submitted for endorsement to the member states’ representatives in the Council (Coreper) and to the Parliament’s environment committee for a possible final adoption before the end of this mandate.

Compared to the Commission’s original proposal, soil emission reductions have been added to the types of carbon removal covered. The Council highlights that “temporary carbon storage from carbon farming & soil emission reduction activities must last at least five years to be certified & must not lead to land being acquired for speculative purposes negatively affecting rural communities.”

Commenting on the provisional agreement which was reached late on February 20th last, ICOS Bioeconomy executive John Brosnan said; “The news of a provisional agreement on an EU certification scheme will create some certainty around the uniformity and standardisation of methodologies and the reporting and verification of eligible emission reduction and removal activities for carbon farming schemes. Here in Ireland, a carbon farming framework is being developed in parallel with the European regulation. The draft Irish framework is expected to be published for public consultation in the coming weeks. We are hopeful that there will be flexibility to include for livestock emissions reductions in the scope of the Irish framework so that any voluntary schemes which will be developed will be more attractive to livestock farmers. Whilst carbon farming will offer a supplementary income for some farmers, it is vital that the sustainable production of food and feed be protected from any possible unintended consequences of land use change brought about.”

Meanwhile back in Brussels, Copa-Cogeca the umbrella body for European farmer and co-operatives issued a statement saying; “We regret that the proposed scope of application fails to properly and timely recognise the importance of livestock management practices. In fact, the inclusion of methane reductions will only be considered in 2026. This political compromise was reached through a crucial concession in the European Parliament’s negotiating mandate. On the ground, this decision makes no sense: For livestock farms already involved in carbon farming mechanisms, this is a step backward, and for those who saw carbon farming as a new tool, it’s a new disillusion. This compromise simply fails to recognize obvious synergies between livestock farming, land management practices capable of capturing carbon, and enhancing alternative energy sources.”