Open Letter: Council must back Parliament position of European Climate Law

Today, in light of the European Council meeting which will unfold in the next days, together with Carbon Market Watch and Fern, we are sending an open letter to the Heads of Government, Council President, Commission President, Ministers of Environment and Member States Ambassadors to the EU, urging them to uphold the integrity of the EU’s 2030 climate target, in support of the European Parliament’s momentous position adopted last week. 
Prior to the Parliament’s vote, with our opinion piece iEuractiv ( Now is the time for an honest conversation about carbon dioxide removal ) we cautioned against the inclusion of removals from sinks in the EU’s 2030 climate target as this would risk diluting both climate mitigation efforts and the benefits of removing carbon from the atmosphere.  

In this letter, co-written with Carbon Market Watch and Fern – organisations specialising in negative emissions – we call on the European Council and the Environment Council to support an absolute emissions reduction target, which excludes carbon removals. Furthermore, we stress the lack of legitimacy and weakening of the democratic process deriving from the lack of explicitness in the public consultations that the Impact Assessment would only assess net targets (i.e. including removals). 

To ensure the EU can reach climate neutrality, we argue it will be key to: 

  • Keep the accounting of removals and emissions reductions separate to ensure both advance at the necessary scale and independent of each other, while avoiding confusion and perverse incentives; 
  • Develop robust definitions and verification methods for removals; 
  • Ensure that the removed carbon is atmospheric and is stored in a manner intended to be permanent. 

Find the full letter here.