The first meeting of the EU’s Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF) expert group took place in Brussels on 6 March, with the bloc looking to take the lead on tackling carbon removal policy.

A direct air capture (DAC) carbon capture plant. (Photo by David Buzzard via Shutterstock)

In November 2022, the European Commission published its proposal for the CRCF, outlining potential EU guidelines for quantifying and verifying the climate benefits of carbon removals to encourage the growth of the market. The framework also looks to define carbon removal and create a strong foundation for developing climate-related policies in the region.

The expert group will now look to further define the guidelines to help achieve the EU’s three main carbon removal targets: by 2028, all land managers should have access to verified emission and removal data to measure carbon farming practices, and all CO2 captured, transported, used and stored through industrial activities should be reported and accounted; by 2030, carbon farming approaches should contribute to reaching the EU’s target of -310 megatonnes of CO2-equivalent of net removals; and industrial technologies should remove annually at least five megatonnes of CO2e by 2030.

“We welcome the leadership shown by the European Commission with its Carbon Removal Certification Framework,” said an open letter published on 6 March by eight climate organisations including Bellona, Carbon Gap, Clean Air Task Force, Concito, ECOS, Energy Policy Group, EPICO and Transport & Environment.

“However, to achieve its aims and ensure that carbon removal delivers real climate benefits, co-legislators must address several critical shortcomings, including adopting a definition of carbon removal compatible with existing international scientific guidance and consensus, and providing guidelines to govern the use of removal certificates that acknowledge the fundamentally different forms of carbon storage and stages of maturity of carbon removal methods, while keeping removals and emission reductions separate.”