On the Council's Conclusions concerning carbon farming

Following yesterday's Agri-Fish Council meeting, Copa and Cogeca welcome the adopted Council's conclusions on the European Commission's communication on sustainable carbon cycles in the agriculture and forestry sectors.

 

Copa and Cogeca welcome the emphasis on the fact that the primary objective of the agricultural sector must remain sustainable food production and the importance of the forest sector in providing alternative energy mixes in the current food and energy crisis, whilst recognising their role in transitioning towards greener economies.

 

Of particular remark is the Council's support to conceive carbon farming as a new green business model of voluntary nature to ensure that farmers can develop a business plan based on their economic capacities and other strategic aspects. In particular, EU farmers and agri-cooperatives support its call for expanding the list of carbon farming practices (in recognition of the heterogeneity of carbon farming practices and the need for a tailor-made implementation) and its remarks that land managers must receive sufficiently incentivizing remunerations for the implementation of carbon farming practices.

 

Also relevant is the distinction between GHG emissions from agricultural practices and the potential contributions of carbon farming practices to reducing these emissions, as solely focusing on CO2 does not reflect the nature and cyclical dynamics of agriculture and forestry.

 

With regards to the certification framework of carbon removals, of great important is the call for a simple certification framework that does not cause disproportionate administrative burdens and does not result in penalties for farmers for any carbon releases, since they are huge barriers to upscaling carbon farming. Copa and Cogeca greatly welcome the call for designing the Union certification framework in a way that is compatible with existing national initiatives sharing the same objective. This is crucial, as some farmers and foresters are already hesitating to get involved in existing schemes due to the fear they may cease to exist or may be deemed incompatible with the upcoming framework (including credits generated through reductions of emissions).

 

The call for the timely setting up of an EU expert group to share existing best practices and help the Commission study all existing systems, as well as assessing the potential implications of broadening the scope of the EU regulatory framework to agricultural GHG emission reduction is also much appreciated. This is, indeed, essential to ensure an open debate and dissemination of knowledge, as is to consider including CO2-equivalent emissions.

 

Finally, Copa and Cogeca consider it relevant that the Council emphasises the importance of public and private investment and financing, as well as further innovation and research and targeted advisory services since they are crucial to further scaling the implementation of carbon farming practices on the ground.

 

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