A new ‘Farm Carbon Forrest Initiative’ has been proposed by the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan.

Speaking at the latest ‘AgriFish’ Council meeting on May 14, the commissioner called on member states to look into the possibility of such an initiative which is expected to reward farmers who successfully reduce, save, store or sequester carbon.

The statement highlighted that the scheme would be possible under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020 proposals and set at national level by member states under their respective strategic plans for climate action.

While progress has been made in reducing the impact of the agri-food sector on the climate, we need to do more and we need to do it now. Emissions from agriculture account for around 10% of total non-CO2 emissions in the EU.

“If we want to achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century, as promised in the Paris Agreement, we have to use all means at our disposal to not only increase carbon efficiency but to also bring absolute emissions down whilst also securing food security,” argued Commissioner Hogan.

The commissioner envisages that the initiative will reward farmers for the “public good” they provide in accordance with proposals for a “results-based” CAP.

Concluding, the commissioner highlighted that the political will to implement this scheme must come from the member states, and he encouraged them to asses the possibility of including an initiative of this type in their strategic plans.