Policymakers of the European Union (EU) have reportedly created a system to certify CO2 removals in 2022 as a step towards setting a regulated EU market to trade and offer a financial allowance for CO2 storage.
Under its plans of attaining net-zero emissions by 2050, the EU intends to upscale removals to mitigate emissions from sectors like heavy industry and agriculture, which are not expected to be cut to zero.
The European Commission cited that it will develop a system of carbon removal certifications in 2022 by measuring CO2 removals from technologies as well as individual landholdings in the European Union and considering the CO2 storage time. This would enable landowners and farmers to earn EU-recognized CO2 removal credits and sell them to polluters that need to offset their emissions. Many major corporate players like Microsoft are willing to pay a premium for offset removals.
The system could lay the foundation for trading certified carbon removal credits in a market regulated by the EU post-2030, or include them into the current carbon market of the European Union, which needs industrial and power companies to purchase a permit every time they release CO2.
Nevertheless, some campaigners noted that the inclusion of removals to the EU carbon market in the 2030s posed some risks, as it might subvert the momentum to focus on outright mitigation of emissions. There is also some skepticism about the achievement of significant emissions removal by 2030.
Carbon offset credits can be obtained by selling removals into voluntary markets. The credits lack standardized rules and some credits have raised concerns over environmental claims.
By 2030, the European Union wants preliminary projects to capture around five million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year. This is a small fragment of over 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent to the emissions of the European Union, but the target would potentially initiate development of novel technologies.