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‘Fit for 55’: provisional agreement sets ambitious carbon removal targets in the land use, land use change and forestry sector

The Council and the European Parliament have reached a provisional political agreement on strengthening the contribution of the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector to the EU’s increased overall climate ambition for 2030.

Pending formal adoption, the Council and Parliament set an overall EU-level objective of 310 Mt CO2 equivalent of net removals in the LULUCF sector in 2030. The LULUCF sector covers the use of soils, trees, plants, biomass and timber and is responsible for both emitting and absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. The objective is to progressively increase absorptions and reduce emissions so that the EU-wide objective is reached.

CO2 carbon sinks can help us achieve our climate goals, including carbon neutrality, and thus protecting our planet from the fatal negative consequences of climate change. The deal will contribute to better protection and management of land and forests across the EU and fully tap into the emissions removal potential. At the same time the deal ensures different circumstances in each member state are taken into account when setting further ambition towards the 2030 targets.

Marian Jurečka, Czech minister of the environment

According to the provisional agreement, the current rules under which emissions do not exceed removals (the "no debit rule") will continue to apply until 2025. For the period from 2026-2030, where removals should exceed emissions, each member state will have a binding national target for 2030. The agreement maintains the distribution of targets between member states as proposed by the Commission.

In addition to the national 2030 targets, the agreement sets a commitment for each member state to achieve a sum of net greenhouse gas emissions and removals for the whole period from 2026 to 2029 (‘the budget 2026-2029’). The budget will be based on a trajectory of indicative annual values of removals and emissions.  

The provisional agreement keeps the possibility to purchase and sell removal units between member states and use surplus annual emission allocations under the effort sharing regulation to reach LULUCF targets.

The agreement maintains an overall general flexibility to support those member states that have difficulties in meeting their targets owing to natural disturbances (such as wildfires, pests and the effects of climate change and organic soils on emissions), provided that the Union as a whole meets its 2030 target. The agreement tightens the criteria to assess whether the EU-wide target is being met and consequently if the flexibility mechanism can be used.

Member states will be allowed to use the flexibility mechanism up to a fixed limit, provided, among other conditions, that they submit evidence to the Commission following a well-defined methodology.

The agreement introduces a governance mechanism in the Regulation, including the measures to be taken if a member state does not meet its national target in the second period.

The Commission will submit a report within six months of the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement (to be carried out in 2023), on including non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in the scope of the regulation and the setting of post-2030 targets for the land-use sector.

The text of the provisional political agreement will be made available soon.


The provisional political agreement reached in trilogue negotiations today will now have to be formally adopted by the Council and the Parliament.

The proposal to revise land use land use change and forestry regulation is part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package. Presented by the European Commission on 14 July 2021, the package aims to enable the EU to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and to achieve climate neutrality in 2050. The proposal for a LULUCF regulation revises existing rules, last amended in 2018. The regulation provides a framework for ensuring that emissions and removals generated by this sector are accounted for in the EU’s climate targets and objectives.

The Parliament adopted a series of amendments to the Commission proposal at its plenary session on 8 June 2022. On 29 June 2022, the Environment Council reached a general approach on the proposal.

This is the third file of the ‘Fit for 55’ package agreed lately, after CO2 emissions for cars and vans and emission reductions for sectors like housing, road transport, agriculture and waste.