Restoring sustainable carbon cycles

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Key points

The EESC:

  • Considers that finding a solution to the carbon neutrality equation in Europe requires mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, increasing carbon sinks and finding alternatives to fossil carbon in our economy.
  • Supports the Commission's communication, which proposes two solutions for removing and sequestering carbon: nature-based solutions (known as "carbon sequestration") and industrial technological solutions.
  • Believes that the land sector can be actively involved in combating global warming while contributing to the broader transition to a sustainable food system.
  • Stresses that the topic of sustainable carbon cycles must be considered in a holistic manner: increasing carbon sinks and replacing fossil carbon as much as possible will require more biomass to be produced, which will affect the land sector.
  • Believes that carbon sequestration should not only be seen as a commercial opportunity, but also as a key component of European agriculture in the future and as a tool for climate action: carbon credits must remunerate a service rendered, namely that of atmospheric carbon sequestration, but must also support the agricultural sector's carbon transition.
  • Thinks that the common agricultural policy (CAP) must provide the policy framework paving the way for the low-carbon transition in agriculture, whereby the sector will emit less and sequester more, but that carbon storage should not be a condition of the CAP and that a specific market must be created and supported.
  • Considers that the development of carbon sequestration will require a clear legal framework that is shared by the Member States, taking into account the differences in the level of investment and support that the Member States can provide.
  • Thinks that industrial solutions, such as permanent CO2 storage in geological formations or mineralisation of carbon in innovative aggregates, will have to be sustainable and prevent negative impacts on biodiversity, ecosystems and communities.
  • Recalls that the well-being of workers, as well as the need for fair remuneration, should be taken into account so that farmers and workers will commit to and make a success of the transition to a low-carbon economy.