Carbon removal certification proposals welcomed

1 December 2022

The publication on November 30 by the European Commission of a draft legislative proposal on the certification of carbon removals has been broadly welcomed by the European woodworking and sawmill industries.

“As the European Union increases its effort to become net-zero by 2050 the priority must be to reduce the emission of carbon into the atmosphere,” said the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) and CEI-Bois in a joint statement. “At the same time we also need to remove carbon from the atmosphere and hence the importance of this Commission proposal.”

Storing carbon in sustainable wood products in the built environment is one way in which such removals can be achieved, as identified in this proposal.

All carbon removals, whether in the built environment, farming, forestry or industry, need to be accurately accounted for hence the importance of the Commission’s proposed framework which will ensure Europe has high quality carbon removals operating under a strong governance system thereby avoiding ‘greenwashing’.

The Commission’s proposal that credits can be generated from carbon removals is important as this will incentivise increased carbon sequestration. An example of how this can work regarding carbon safely stored in sustainable construction timber can be seen in the US where US$150,000 of carbon credits were created via a new engineered timber building at the University of Washington.

“The proposal rightly states that any credits generated must be ‘additional’ to comply with the Kyoto protocol,” said the EOS/CEI-Bois statement. “This should ensure carbon offsetting can be effective in helping reach global neutrality and will incentivise new activities that will help drive us towards net-zero.”

In the case of wood in construction as the Commission president noted last week in Finland, “Today, 3% of the overall material input in the European construction is timber. So I would say that it is still a niche, but with a big room for improvement.”

Today’s legislative proposal can help drive that improvement and hence it is welcomed by Europe’s woodworking and sawmill industries.