Updated: MEPs approve new GHG reporting rules

12th March 2013


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EU member states will have to report on carbon emissions and abatement resulting from land use change and agriculture, under new legislation approved by the European parliament

MEPs have approved a new regulation to amend the greenhouse-gas (GHG) reporting rules for member states, which were created by the Monitoring Mechanism Decision (Decision 280/2004/EC), to improve data quality and ensure that the bloc has the necessary information to meet its commitments under the 2009 Copenhagen accord and 2010 Cancún agreements.

The regulation, which is expected to be adopted shortly by the European Council, will mean member states will have to report for the first time the amount of GHG emissions created and abated by land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF).

National governments will also have to disclose their low-carbon development strategies and report on how they are adapting to climate change. Details of how revenue generated by auctioning EU emissions trading scheme allowances is being spent in each country will also have to be submitted to the European Commission.

A second piece of legislation approved by MEPs establishes common rules for accounting for carbon emissions and removals from LULUCF activities.

The commission said the reporting requirements were the first step to incorporating forestry and agriculture into EU climate policy. Currently there are no EU-wide rules on GHGs from these sectors.

“These new rules will help Europe develop robust evidence-based climate policies and keep better track of progress towards meeting our emission targets. They improve transparency, coordination and the quality of data reported, and forest and agriculture emissions will now be accounted for in a harmonised way” said Connie Hedegaard, EU commissioner for climate action.

“We hope that these new rules will also set an example in the context of the international climate negotiations and serve as a benchmark for transparency of climate action by other countries."

The European parliament's decision was welcomed in the UK. A DECC spokesperson said: “The Regulation improves the existing monitoring and reporting system for climate change mitigation and adaptation measures by streamlining the existing reporting process, and addressing the gaps.

“The passing of legislation to account for emissions from LULUCF is also a positive step.”

The new LULUCF legislation does not include national emission reduction targets for the forestry and agricultural sectors, but the commission confirms that such targets may be incorporated at a later date once the accounting rules have “proven robust”.

Both new pieces of legislation will have to be adopted by the European Council before being passed into law.

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