Methane gas emissions from cattle farming are not included in the LULUCF calculation until 2030.
imago images / penofoto
Methane gas emissions from cattle farming are not included in the LULUCF calculation until 2030.

The EU agricultural sector is to be more involved in climate protection. Livestock farmers are also affected. The farmers' association is calling for compensation for additional burdens.

The EU Commission presented 12 legislative proposals in its "Fit for 55" package. With an extension of the trade in pollution rights to transport and buildings, the two sectors are to participate in climate protection in the future. Agriculture will also be held more accountable in the long term. Initially, little will change for agriculture between 2021 and 2025. According to the EU Regulation on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF), carbon dioxide emissions from agriculture and the storage of the greenhouse gas in forestry will merely balance each other out. Between 2026 and 2030, 310 million tons of carbon dioxide are then to be saved in land use by fields, meadows and forests in the EU.

Cattle farming only affected from 2030

The particularly harmful methane gas emissions from cattle farming will only be included in the LULUCF calculation from 2030. All greenhouse gas emissions from livestock housing and farmland will then be offset against savings from forestry. By 2035 at the latest, there should be a climate-neutral agricultural and forestry sector in the EU. From 2035 onwards, the EU Commission requires greenhouse gas savings from the agricultural and forestry sectors below the line. By then, an effective system of carbon farming certificates is to be established, with incentives for farmers who increase the humus content of the soil or plant trees and hedges on their land. EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski pointed to the eco-schemes from the CAP reform. The new instrument would give farmers incentives for climate-friendly production, Wojciechowski stressed.

Carbon farming certificates

Furthermore, the EU Commission wants to increase the price of pollution certificates in the industry by issuing fewer free pollution certificates. This will also affect manufacturers of nitrogen fertilizers. However, to ensure that the production of fertilizers does not subsequently migrate to third countries, a border adjustment is to be introduced for fertilizer imports. The German Farmers' Association (DBV) fears higher prices for fertilizers. Because of the competitive power element for farmers in the EU, the DBV therefore believes there should also be border adjustment for agricultural products.
Finally, the EU Commission wants to change the taxation of fuels. Tax breaks for agricultural diesel for farmers, which still exist in some EU member states, are to be abolished. In addition, taxes on fuels are to be based on energy content rather than volume. This would give biodiesel and bioethanol a tax advantage, as plant-based fuels have a lower energy content than mineral oil-based products.
The 12 different proposals in the Fit for 55 package will have to be negotiated with the European Parliament and EU member states in the coming months, so there may still be some changes.