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Unión de Selvicultores del Sur de Europa


The conference "Carbon sequestration: Challenges and opportunities" shed light on the European legislation on CO2 removal certification

25 / 06 / 2024

About a hundred people, including the forestry community, forest owners and those responsible for reducing CO2 emissions from various organizations, as well as a representative of the European Commission's DG CLIMA, met on April 10 at the Hôtel de Région de la Nouvelle Aquitaine in Bordeaux for the day "Carbon sequestration: Challenges and opportunities".

At this meeting, various tools were presented that enable forest and farm owners to have all or part of certain forestry works financed by a carbon emitting agent. Bruno Lafon, together with Leire Salaberria, Director of USSE, introduced the topics of the day. As president of the Syndicat des Sylviculteurs du Sud-Ouest, of the USSE and vice-president of ACCLENA, he mentioned the essential role of forests in the fight against climate change. He also highlighted the actions of the landowning community that participates in this fight, with the objective of producing wood that can store carbon in the long term.

The use of forest carbon credits is well established in the European Union and, taking into account the diversity of European forests, various tools have been put in place, more or less locally. After an initial presentation by Jurij Krajcic, representative of DG CLIMA of the European Commission, on the EU Framework for the certification of carbon sequestration, the cases of Galicia, France, United Kingdom and the Basque Country were explained throughout the meeting. Daniel Cebreiro (Galician Forestry Association) presented the "Galicia Rexenera" program for the recovery of abandoned or degraded lands through afforestation.

Simon Martel (I4CE) made public an analysis of the five years of existence of the Low Carbon Label (Label Bas Carbone) in France, which has found its place in French forests and among taxpayers (= financiers), who see in the LBC a means to act locally using a rigorous and transparent method. The presentation by Andrew Baker (Scottish Forestry) focused on the UK Woodland Carbon Code, the tool developed by the United Kingdom for its territory. It is characterized, among other aspects, by the possibility of selling the credits generated by the forester's project to the government if no contributor can be found. This price is limited and is usually lower than the market price.

In the Basque Country, the certification formula that will make it possible to respond to local problems is still in the planning phase. For Aitor Onaindia, technical director of Basoa Fundazioa, it should be based on the CRCF's major additionality and quality rules and PEFC certification, which guarantees the sustainable management of the program's forests.


Johan Fonteniaud, who works for the Chambre Régionale d'Agriculture de Nouvelle-Aquitaine and ACCLENA, explained that agricultural projects are based more on emission reductions than forestry projects and acknowledged that they find it harder to sell, having to face two major obstacles: a higher average price (42 euros per carbon credit compared to an average of 32 euros in the forest) and the "bad" image of agriculture in the eyes of society and, therefore, of funders.

On the other hand, the European Commission is developing a certification tool, the Carbon Credit Removal Certification Framework (CRCF), with the aim of proposing a common standard across Europe. The goals of the CRCF, according to Jurij Krajcic, representative of the European Commission's DG CLIMA, are to guarantee the quality of credits sold, create a Europe-wide offer for taxpayers, and enable regions that do not have regional or national tools (such as the low-emissions label) to develop carbon sequestration projects.

The CRCF continues to make progress, especially from a practical point of view by building usable methods (e.g. which forestry operations could be labeled?), but many challenges remain to be overcome before it can be used in our forests.

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