Loïg Chesnais-Girard, President of the Brittany region and rapporteur of the European Committee of the Regions on the opinion "Regional adaptation strategies for low carbon agriculture", commented the European Commission's announcement of an EU framework for the certification of carbon removal as follows:
"In its legislative proposal, the European Commission does not specify either the eligible practices or the purpose of this new certification framework, particularly in relation to the creation of a market for carbon offsetting. The fact that the definition of these essential elements has been left to expert groups and delegated acts is not acceptable given the medium- and long-term implications of this certification for agriculture and rural development in our territories."
He added: "The definition of carbon farming proposed by the European Commission focuses solely on carbon emissions. However, if we really want to encourage systemic transitions on our farms, we must develop tools that support and promote an overall reduction in agricultural greenhouse gas: we must therefore work in carbon equivalent. In this systemic approach, which integrates a social and environmental dimension, we must also take into account the need to ensure European food security. We cannot fall into the trap of storing carbon to the detriment of the food function of agriculture".
He concluded: "Regions should be involved in the governance of certification, to support the development of projects which are adapted to local needs and consistent with regional agricultural, rural and climate strategies".
Regions are directly involved in the development and implementation of CAP strategic plans in many EU Member States and contribute to encourage sustainable practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture. Moreover, local and regional authorities are responsible for implementing 70% of climate mitigation measures and 90% of climate adaptation measures. They play a vital role in delivering on the European Green Deal on the ground and in achieving the 2050 carbon neutrality target.
In December 2021, the Commission published the communication on carbon cycles, which represents the first step towards implementing an EU framework for the certification of carbon removal. On its own initiative, the CoR drafted an opinion on "Regional adaptation strategies for low carbon agriculture" with rapporteur Loïg Chesnais-Girard. The opinion was adopted by unanimity by the CoR NAT commission on 22 November and will be adopted in plenary in February 2023.
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