The Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry sector in the EU as a whole is a net sink, removing about 350 Mt of CO2 every year. However, this sink is projected to decrease. The legislative proposal for post-2020 is unambitious and includes loopholes


LULUCF until 2020

The EU’s current 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target of minus 20% below 2005 emissions levels does not include CO2 emissions nor removals (when CO2 is taken up by plants, trees or soils) from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). (Non-CO2 emissions from the land-use sector are included in each Member State’s non-ETS target under the Effort Sharing Regulation). When the 2020 targets were set, LULUCF was kept separate from sectors that produce emissions, on the basis that the LULUCF sector was inherently different from other sectors because of issue such as permanence and difficulties with accounting land emissions. At the same time LULUCF is included in EU countries’ Kyoto protocol targets.

LULUCF after 2020

The European Council decided in October 2014 that LULUCF should be included in the 2030 framework but left it open how that should happen. In July 2016, the European Commission published their proposal for a regulation for the LULUCF sectors in July 2016 (see all documents here). The proposal creates a separate legislative framework for LULUCF but allows Member States to offset some of their emission reductions in the Effort Sharing Regulation sectors (i.e. buildings, road transport) with forestry credits. 

Political Process

This proposal will be discussed by the European Parliament and the Member States. Rapporteur is the German MEP Norbert Lins (EPP), Shadows are S&D: Paul Brannen (UK), ALDE: Nils Torvalds (FI), Greens: Benedek Javor (HU), ECR: Wisniewska (PL), GUE: Flanagan (IE), EFDD: Marco Affronte (IT). 

Timetable in the European Parliament's ENVI and ITRE Committee

ENVI Public Hearing 30/31 January 2017
ENVI Consideration of draft report 20/21 March 2017
ENVI Deadline for amendments 27 March 2017, 12.00
ENVI Consideration of amendments 24/25 April 2017
ITRE Vote 11 May 2017
ENVI Vote 22 June 2017


Timetable and Presidencies European Council

In the Environment and/or Agriculture Council the Member States will debate the ESR proposal under the leadership of its consecutive presidencies: 2016: Netherlands, Slovakia, 2017: Malta, Estonia (no UK presidency!), 2018: Bulgaria, Austria. 

CAN Europe calls for more ambition and no loopholes

It is essential that the emissions of the LULUCF sector are addressed, but without compromising the emission mitigation commitment made for the ETS or non-ETS sectors. 

CAN Europe calls for:

  • A more ambitious target for the LULUCF sectors. The proposed 2030 target of no-debit, meaning no emissions from the LULUCF sector are not ambitious enough given that the land-use sector has to absorb as many emissions as possible, without compromising biodiversity or food security.
  • Net-net accounting rules that are clear, honest and transparent, allowing real emission reductions, avoiding “hidden emissions“. Learn more about net-net accounting
  • Abolishing the proposed loophole which would allow for 280 million tonnes of LULUCF reductions to be counted towards the non-ETS target.
  • Mandatory accounting for ‘managed wetland’         
  • Ensure respect for EU Nature legislation      
  • No offsetting from the forestry sector          
  • Full accounting for emissions from bioenergy.

In addition, the EU’s land sector does not have a mid- or a long-term strategy for decarbonisation. The European Commission should urgently develop a 2050 roadmap for agriculture, forestry and other land-use sectors that takes into account the EU’s 2050 objectives as well as the IPCC’s 2°C compliant carbon budgets. 

Learn more


The proposed Regulation is unambitious and must be strengthened in several ways to ensure that the LULUCF sectors sufficiently contribute to achieving the European Union’s international commitments under the Paris Agreement. 


The briefing on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) was developed in spring 2016 to give a brief overview and update on LULUCF and its relevance for EU climate policy after the UNFCCC international climate agreement that was made in Paris in December 2015. Read More


CAN Europe made a submission on the European Commission’s consultation on how to treat land-based emissions in the 2030 target. Read more

Submissions on a sustainable bioenergy policy for the period after 2020

CAN Europe made a submission on the European Commission’s consultation a sustainable bioenergy policy for the period after 2020. Read more

Effort Sharing Regulation (non-ETS sectors)

The Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) sets emissions reduction targets for each EU Member States for the sectors not covered under the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme. These non-ETS sectors include nearly 60% of the EU’s emissions and include ground transportation, agriculture, waste and buildings. Read more

Useful LULUCF Resources

Here you find a range of useful external LULUCF resources. Read More





Ulriikka Aarnio in Brussels
International Climate Policy Coordinator
+32 2894 4674

Latest Publications on Land Based Emissions

  • Defenders, Delayers or Dinosaurs: where do EU political groups stand on climate change?

    Centre and conservative parties of the current European Parliament have failed to treat climate change with the urgency it demands, according to a new ranking published today by Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe. At the same time, national champions in these groups demonstrate that centre and conservative parties can play a positive role in climate policy-making and that climate action can become a cross-party priority in the upcoming European elections.
  • Defenders, Delayers, Dinosaurs. Ranking of EU political groups and national parties on climate change

    The report “Defenders, Delayers, Dinosaurs: Ranking of EU political groups and national parties on climate change” assesses the voting behaviour of current MEPs in relation to climate and energy issues.
  • The People's Climate Case

    Families from Europe and outside are taking the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to the European General Court for allowing high level of emissions until 2030 and failing to protect the citizens with the existing inadequate 2030 climate target.
See All: Land-based Emissions