A framework for certifying carbon removals on farms is one step closer to being established, following a majority vote on carbon farming legislation in Brussels on Wednesday.
The European Parliament’s agriculture committee voted in favour of the carbon farming legislation by 31 votes to six. There were two abstentions where members voted neither for nor against the legislation.
This voluntary framework would give power to farmers and reward them for any on-farm carbon that they store, according to Colm Markey MEP, who has been responsible for the legislation at committee level.
Carbon removals refer to the process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere in long-term carbon sinks.
Any activity that sequesters carbon and achieves greenhouse gas emission reductions at farm level can be certified and then traded or sold.
Some of the actions which qualify as carbon farming activities, which will be eligible for certification, include: planting hedgerows, planting trees in crops and grasslands, peatland restoration, rewetting, coastal seagrass restoration, converting grass leys to grass-legume, the cultivation of arable crops, reduction of soil compaction by machinery, cultivation of deep-rooting plants, annual cultivation of cover crops, retention of crop residues, agro forestry systems, afforestation and conversion to mixed-species forests.
The framework will be voluntary and is expected to be passed next summer and up and running by approximately 2025.
In terms of trading and what payment farmers will receive for their carbon, Markey hopes that farmers would be paid in line with carbon credits internationally. This week, carbon was trading at around €85/t on the EU market.