2030 climate and energy framework
– greenhouse gas emissions, land use change and forestry
Regulation (EU) 2018/841 on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry in the 2030 climate and energy framework
sets out what European Union (EU) Member States must do to ensure the land use, land use change and forestry sector helps meet the EU’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target for 2021–2030;
lays down rules to account for emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry and to check that Member States meet their commitments.
The regulation applies to the following greenhouse gases (Annex I A) from different types of land use during two periods, 2021–2025 and 2026–2030:
carbon dioxide (CO2),
nitrous oxide (N20).
Member States must:
ensure accounted greenhouse gas emissions are in balance and do not exceed accounted removals from all types of land use during the two time periods (known as the ‘no debit’ rule);
prepare and maintain accounts that accurately reflect emissions and removals;
use data that are accurate, complete, consistent, comparable and transparent, denoting emissions by a positive sign (+) and removals by a negative sign (-);
prevent any double accounting;
include in their accounts for each land category any change in the stock of carbon pools* listed in Annex I B (above- and below-ground biomass, litter, dead wood, soil organic carbon, harvested wood);
maintain a complete and accurate record of all data used to prepare the accounts.
Specific accounting rules on emissions and removals apply to managed cropland, managed grassland and managed wetland during the two time periods.
Accounts for managed forest land require Member States to:
measure forest size according to area, tree crown cover and height parameters set out in Annex II;
submit national forestry accounting plans containing all the elements set out in Annex IV B, such as information on carbon pools and harvesting rates, to the European Commission by 31 December 2018 and 30 June 2023;
determine their forest reference level (forward-looking benchmarks to measure net emissions from existing forests) based on sustainable forest management practice and criteria in Annex IV A.
They require the Commission to:
assess, with the help of experts, the national forestry accounting plans;
publish a summary of its assessments;
make recommendations, where necessary, on the proposed forest reference levels to Member States, which must revise them by 31 December 2019 and 30 June 2024;
lay down national forest reference levels, contained in Annex IV C.
Accounts for harvested wood products require Member States to report emissions from paper, wood panels and sawn wood categories according to the methodology set out in Annex V.
Member States may:
choose to include managed wetland in their 2021–2025 commitments, but will still have to report to the Commission on emissions and removals during this period; inclusion in accounting being compulsory from 2026;
exclude emissions caused by natural disturbances from their accounts for forested and managed forest land greenhouse gas emissions (Annex VI sets out how this is calculated);
use a general flexibility provision when total accounted emissions are either higher or lower than total accounted removals (in the latter case they may bank the surplus removals or transfer them to another Member State);
apply specific managed forest land flexibility when accounted emissions exceed accounted removals in the managed forest land accounting category. (Annex VII sets out the maximum compensation available).
Compliance and registry rules include the following requirements.
Member States must submit to the Commission a compliance report containing the balance of total accounted emissions and removals for each land category during the two time periods by 15 March 2027 (2021–2025) and 15 March 2032 (2026–2030).
The Commission must:
review, with the help of the European Environment Agency, the compliance reports and prepare its own reports in 2027 (2021–2025) and 2032 (2026–2030) on total EU-accounted emissions and removals for each land accounting category;
adopt rules to record national accounted emissions and removals in the EU registry and make the information publicly available;
keep the regulation under review and submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union within 6 months of each global stocktaking under the Paris Agreement.
The Commission may adopt delegated and implementing acts to take account of scientific developments and technical progress or to ensure consistency between EU legislation and any changes in the guidelines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The regulation amends Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 (subsequently repealed and replaced by Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 – see summary) and Decision No 529/2013/EU (see summary).
In July 2021, the Commission proposed a regulation aimed at simplifying compliance rules, setting out national targets for 2030 and committing to climate neutrality in the land sector by 2035.
Application & Background
It has applied since 9 July 2018.
The regulation is brings the EU one step closer to meeting its commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
The new rules provide Member States with incentives for climate-friendly land use, without creating any new restrictions or red tape. They do not set any obligations for private parties such as farmers and foresters.
The farming and forestry sector not only produces greenhouse gases, it can also remove them from the atmosphere. Forests absorb nearly 10% of all EU greenhouse gases annually.
For further information, see:
Land use and forestry regulation for 2021–2030 (European Commission)
2030 climate target plan (European Commission).
Carbon pools. A system in which carbon, any precursor to a greenhouse gas containing carbon or any greenhouse gas containing carbon, is stored.
Regulation (EU) 2018/841 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry in the 2030 climate and energy framework, and amending Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 and Decision No 529/2013/EU (OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, pp. 1–25).
Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2018/841 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulations (EU) 2018/841 as regards the scope, simplifying the compliance rules, setting out the targets of the Member States for 2030 and committing to the collective achievement of climate neutrality by 2035 in the land use, forestry and agriculture sector, and (EU) 2018/1999 as regards improvement in monitoring, reporting, tracking of progress and review (COM(2021) 554 final, 14.7.2021).
Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/268 of 28 October 2020 amending Annex IV to Regulation (EU) 2018/841 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the forest reference levels to be applied by the Member States for the period 2021-2025 (OJ L 60, 22.2.2021, pp. 21–23).
Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, amending Regulations (EC) No 663/2009 and (EC) No 715/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Directives 94/22/EC, 98/70/EC, 2009/31/EC, 2009/73/EC, 2010/31/EU, 2012/27/EU and 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 2009/119/EC and (EU) 2015/652 and repealing Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, pp. 1–77).
See consolidated version.
Decision No 529/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on accounting rules on greenhouse gas emissions and removals resulting from activities relating to land use, land-use change and forestry and on information concerning actions relating to those activities (OJ L 165, 18.6.2013, pp. 80–97).
See consolidated version.
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