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Fit for 55: Deal on carbon sinks goal will increase EU 2030 climate target

MEPs and EU countries agreed to increase the EU carbon sinks target for the land use and forestry sector, which increases the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target to 57%.

  • New EU 2030 target to increase EU carbon sinks by 15% compared to today
  • EU countries will also report on how they take into account the “do no significant harm” principle
  • Improved governance and monitoring

On Thursday night, Parliament and Council negotiators reached a provisional agreement on the third file of the Fit for 55 package. The revision of the Regulation on the land use, land use change and forestry sector (LULUCF) seeks to improve natural carbon sinks to make the EU the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and improve biodiversity in line with the European Green Deal.

Boosting EU carbon sinks by 2030

The EU 2030 target for net greenhouse gas (GHG) removals in the land, land use change and forestry sector will be set at 310 million tonnes CO2 equivalent, which is around 15% more than today.

Member States will have to follow a linear trajectory starting in 2022 at the average value of its GHG inventory data for the years 2021, 2022 and 2023, and end in 2030 on the value set for the country.

The current rules will still apply for the period from 2021 to 2025 and EU countries will have to ensure that the emissions in the LULUCF sector do not exceed the amount that has been removed. EU countries will still have some flexibility to help comply with their targets, while respecting environmental integrity.

The new EU target will de facto raise the EU’s 2030 GHG reduction target to 57% from 55%, as the contribution of net removals to the 2030 55% GHG reduction target was limited to 225 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in the EU Climate Law as proposed by the European Parliament.

Governance and monitoring

Monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions and removals will be improved, including by using more geographical data and remote sensing, so that EU countries' progress towards achieving their targets can be followed more accurately.

EU countries will be obliged to take corrective action if progress towards their target is not sufficient. There will also be a penalty for non-compliance: 108% of the GHG above their 2026-2029 budget will be added to their 2030 target. To ensure that the EU target is met, the Commission will submit a progress report no later than six months after the first global stocktake agreed under the Paris Agreement. If appropriate, the Commission shall follow up with legislative proposals.


After the deal, rapporteur, Ville Niinistö (Greens/EFA, FI), said “The EU’s sinks have been decreasing for the last decade. Tonight we have agreed on an important piece of legislation to ensure that the land sector will do its part in tackling the climate crisis. We now have a more ambitious target and safeguards such as better data and stricter reporting requirements, more transparency as well as a review by 2025. For the first time, this legislation considers biodiversity and the climate crisis jointly and member states will also need to take into account the do no significant harm principle.”

Next steps

Parliament and Council will have to formally approve the agreement before the new law can come into force.


The LULUCF rules regulate activities related to the conversion, use and management of land and forests. Its revision is part of the “Fit for 55 in 2030 package", which is the EU’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030 compared to 1990 levels in line with the European Climate Law.


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