Carbon removal strategy – Is it needed and will it make a difference?

European Union Member States have agreed to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and increase their level of ambition for 2030. This means that Europe needs to amend many of its climate policies.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios consistent with limiting the temperature rise to 1.5°C show that removing CO2 from the atmosphere is essential. In line with this, the European science academies recommend prioritising deep emissions cuts, but also to start developing a portfolio of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) options.

According to several climate stakeholders, emission reductions are not at the pace to meet Europe’s more ambitious climate goals. They claim the importance of carbon removal solutions keeps increasing, but the EU’s strategy and support remains unclear.

In April 2021, the European Parliament and the European Council reached a provisional agreement on the first-ever EU Climate Law. But negotiations on whether carbon removals should be counted towards the 2030 target were difficult. The final target sets a cap on removals, effectively separating targets for emission reductions and carbon removals.

The Commission has many other legislative actions in place – the LULUCF Regulation, the Climate Action Regulation, the Emission Trading Directive, and new legislation containing a nature restoration target.

Will these actions lead to an acceleration of carbon removal strategies? Collectively, are they enough to meet the EU’s climate targets? It is argued that all of the above proposals and directives have advantages and disadvantages.

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Carbon removal strategy – Is it needed and will it make a difference?


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