Towards an EU regulatory framework for climate smart agriculture: The example of soil carbon sequestration

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    This article assesses current and proposed EU climate and environmental law and the legal instruments associated to the common agricultural policy to see whether soil carbon sequestration as a promising example of ‘climate smart agriculture’ is sufficiently promoted. The assessment shows that current and proposed policies and instruments are inadequate to stimulate large scale adoption of soil carbon projects across Europe. Given the structural flaws that were found, it is likely that this is true for all climate smart agricultural practices. An alternative approach needs to be developed. Under EU climate policy, agriculture should be included in the EU ETS through allowing regulated industries to buy offsets from the agricultural sector, following the examples set by Australia and others. Lessons learned from these experiences abroad will be helpful when drafting new EU rules and regulations aimed at setting up a reliable and robust regulatory offsets system under the EU ETS. The second element of a new approach is aimed at the CAP. The CAP, generally, needs to be much more focused on the specific requirements of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Such stronger focus does not take away the need to open up a new income stream for farmers from offsets under the ETS, as the CAP will never have sufficient funds for the deep and full transition of Europe’s agriculture sector that is needed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)301-322
    Number of pages22
    JournalTransnational Environmental Law
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


    • climate law
    • Agriculture
    • carbon farming
    • climate smart agriculture
    • emissions trading


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