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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Reforming the EU approach to LULUCF and the climate policy framework

Ellison, David; Lundblad, Mattias; Petersson, Hans


We focus on recent progress in reforming the role of forests and other land use in the EU climate policy framework. EU inclusion of LULUCF (Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry) in the climate policy framework still lags international developments, remaining at odds even with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) Kyoto framework. Though the EU has made some important changes that eclipse even the UNFCCC framework-in particular regarding the inclusion of cropland and grazing land management in mandatory EU-level carbon accounting practices-in other respects the EU has far to go. As part of a strategy for fulfilling emission reduction commitments within the EU burden-sharing agreement, Member states are not permitted to trade either in domestically nor foreign produced forest-based carbon credits. On the other hand, both the EU and the UNFCCC/Kyoto LULUCF frameworks remain distant from an idealized model that could facilitate increased climate change mitigation and a more efficient and balanced use of forest-based resources. Limiting the incorporation of forests in the climate policy framework has significant consequences for the cost and rapidity of emission reductions. Forest potential thus remains under-mobilized for climate change mitigation. In this context, we draw particular attention to the fact that forest-based carbon sequestration's potential contribution to negative emissions represents an important missed opportunity. In the context of ongoing discussions over the EU and UNFCCC's Post-Kyoto frameworks, we propose an all-encompassing LULUCF carbon accounting model incorporating all previously omitted carbon pools and activities, thus weighing LULUCF removals and emissions on a par with emissions from other sectors (industry, the energy sector, end-users). The successful integration of LULUCF into the EU climate policy and carbon-trading frameworks could dovetail neatly with emerging international climate change mitigation efforts. (C) 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


LULUCF; EU climate policy; Kyoto protocol; Climate change mitigation; REDD

Published in

Environmental Science and Policy
2014, Volume: 40, pages: 1-15