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Letter to President Juncker on LULUCF and Starting Point in the non-ETS sectors

Dear President Juncker,

This week you and your colleagues will make a final decision on a flagship climate instrument that tackles emissions from transport, building, agriculture and waste. Covering 60 per cent of the EU’s emissions, getting this instrument right is crucial to keep temperature rises well below 2 °C, and striving for 1.5°C. This is the first major test of the EU’s resolve to tackle climate change since the Paris Agreement was issued in December, and is therefore of international significance.

In order to really pass that test, the level of ambition in this instrument should be substantially raised from the current -30% target to well beyond -45% emission reductions by 2030. While we are waiting for the EU Member States to agree on such an increase of the target, we understand that there are two issues in the proposal that are being discussed within the College: the starting point and inclusion of land use and forestry.

Starting Point: The starting point for the new instrument should be set on the basis of a trajectory from actual 2016-2018 emissions. Since most Member States are expected to  overachieve their 2020 ESD targets, starting at this level would avoid an additional 850 million tons of CO2 in the atmosphere. To ensure fairness, the starting point for those countries that will not meet their targets should be based on their 2021 ESD target. We believe this is a simple approach, which is an important attribute in a climate world full of jargon and accounting rules that alienate society.

LULUCF: Carbon removals from forests and land use should be promoted in addition to (and not replacing) emission reductions in the existing ESD sectors. In this way, forests and land will be crucial in helping the EU go ‘below zero’ as most IPCC scenarios show is needed. It is crucial that forests are not used to delay action. Of particular concern are the accounting rules for forest management, which are notoriously complex and are already leading to hundreds of millions of windfall credits in the current period. Including these credits into the EU’s new instrument would leave the EU wide open to criticism and risks overshadowing the EU’s package as a whole.

We urge you to use your influence to ensure that the instrument is not watered down in the final hours before the Commission issues its proposal.

Yours sincerely,

Saskia Ozinga, Campaigns coordinator, Fern
Jos Dings, Executive Director, Transport and Environment
Jeremy Wates, Secretary General, European Environmental Bureau
Wendel Trio, Director, Climate Action Network Europe
Geneviève Pons, Director, WWF European Policy Office
Anja Leetz, Executive Director, Health Care Without Harm Europe
Eduardo Cuoco, Director, IFOAM EU
Natalia Alonso, Deputy Director of Advocacy & Campaigns, Oxfam
Leo Stranius, Executive Director, Finnish Association for Nature Conservation
Angelo Caserta, Regional Director, Birdlife Europe
Femke De Jong, EU policy Director, Carbon Market Watch

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