Europe’s land sink is shrinking and projected to decrease significantly by 2030, due to ageing forests, intensive wood harvesting, and degradation of peatlands and agricultural soils. A recently adopted EU target foresees an increase in its land sink by 20% by 2030 (to -310Mt CO2e). Biodiversity too is in a dire state across Europe. The EU’s newly proposed Nature Restoration Law aims to restore at least 20% of the EU land and sea area by 2030, including many carbon-rich habitats.
It is clear that the biodiversity and climate crises are deeply connected and there is a growing recognition amongst experts that real solutions must address both simultaneously.
Regrettably, this proposal falls woefully short of what is needed. The EEB is particularly concerned about the following:
Jurij Krajcic, Policy Officer for Land and Climate at the EEB, comments:
“The proposal completely ignores the social dimension, containing no provisions on protections against unjust practices such as land-grabbing, nor ensuring support for all farmers. That should be an integral part of the just transition.”
Célia Nyssens, Senior Policy Officer for Agriculture and Food Systems at the EEB, notes:
“The Commission has just published a framework to certify greenwashing. We do need to boost carbon removals in the land sector, but relying on big polluters to pay for it through carbon markets undermines this initiative from day one. This is highly disappointing and could have disastrous consequences for our climate, nature, and rural communities.”