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Land-based carbon storage and the European union emissions trading scheme: the science underlying the policy


Climate change is occurring with greater speed and intensity that previously anticipated. All effective environmentally and socially sound mitigation efforts need to be employed to effectively address this global crisis. Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) projects can provide significant climate change mitigation benefits as well as poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation benefits. The policies of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), the world’s largest carbon market exclude LULUCF. Scientific support for this exclusion was presented in a briefing paper published by the Climate Action Network—Europe (CAN) that puts forward the proposition that land based storage of carbon is ineffective. A careful review of the scientific papers cited in support of CAN’s position indicates that, while the papers themselves are scientifically sound, they do not support the continued exclusion of LULUCF projects from the EU-ETS. At the same time some important recent research papers that describe the carbon storage and social benefit potential of such projects are not included in the analysis. An in-depth consideration of the scientific evidence is necessary in evaluating this policy option. Based on this evidence a case can be made for the inclusion of LULUCF projects in the EU-ETS.

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    The opposition to LULUCF projects has lead to a current limited application of LULUCF to 1% of 1990 emissions for Annex I countries.


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Correspondence to Jonathan Haskett.

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Haskett, J., Schlamadinger, B. & Brown, S. Land-based carbon storage and the European union emissions trading scheme: the science underlying the policy. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 15, 127–136 (2010).

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  • Climate change
  • Carbon market
  • Land use land-use change and forestry
  • European Union Emissions Trading Scheme
  • Environmental and social benefits