The EU encourages agricultural practices that help sequester carbon in the soil

The top three groups of greenhouse gas GHG emitters globally are China, the European Union and the United States – together they contribute 41.5% (in 2021) of total GHG emissions. 

Agriculture produces a substantial amount of GHG’s, which contribute greatly to global warming and climate change by currently generating 19–29% [1] of total GHG emissions. Besides GHG emissions, agriculture also has the problem of food security, so the challenge will only become more difficult, as the world will need to produce about 70% more food by 2050 to feed an estimated 9 billion people[2].

For EU policy, agriculture has an important role in the proposed target of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030 and reaching a level of net zero emissions in 2050 as set out in EU’s Climate Law.

According to, the European Commission will propose a law that will set bloc-wide standards for the certification of carbon farming activities, but will leave key decisions to member states and future detailed regulations.

The Commission’s definition of carbon farming as set out in its Communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles[3] is as follows: 

“Carbon farming can be defined as a green business model that rewards land managers for taking up improved land management practices, resulting in the increase of carbon sequestration in living biomass, dead organic matter and soils by enhancing carbon capture and/or reducing the release of carbon to the atmosphere, in respect of ecological principles favourable to biodiversity and the natural capital overall.” 

Common Agricultural Practices (CAP) strategic plans will be a key lever to promote improved agricultural land management practices that reduce and remove GHG emissions. With the increase in the level of carbon sequestration in the soil, incentives are offered for land managers and farmers to increase the volumes of carbon sequestered but also to continue the practices in order to make it permanent. Permanence is an important criterion of the carbon sequestration activity, the carbon removed must not be reintroduced into the atmosphere. To lower our global carbon footprint, the emissions we remove need to stay gone forever.


The reduction and removal of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions will be determined using recognized methodologies, and further certified according to the criteria established by the European Commission and this procedure will be the same throughout the EU. The way in which these certificates will be capitalized will depend on the rules of the member states – from state to state as the case may be – farmers will be remunerated for the reduction 




and removal of GHG through public or private carbon markets, through financing schemes or not at all.

Climate impact

With the implementation of agricultural practices according to new laws, the Commission wants to ensure that the climate impact is obtained, and for this one of the requirements will be that the agricultural practices are additional. Additionality means that agricultural practices exceed the legal requirements and exceed business as usual practices. Today – with few exceptions – the practice of intensive agriculture is most often found in the EU, this being the current norm.

Reducing the carbon footprint in parallel with ensuring the resilience of European agriculture to climate change and the development of food production are measures expected by millions of farmers in the agricultural community.

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