As one of its final activities before the project comes to an end, CHE organised a workshop with experts around Europe on the topic of emission reporting for the AFOLU sector. The AFOLU (Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use) sector is a critical part of the (anthropogenic) carbon cycle and can play an important role in terms of mitigation efforts through an enhancement of removals of greenhouse gases, as well as reduction of emissions through management of land, vegetation and livestock. The AFOLU sector therefore plays an important role in the Paris Agreement and especially in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). In fact, the GHG inventory of the European Union for Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) and agriculture is based on the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Monitoring Mechanism regulation 525 (2013), the new Regulations on LULUCF 841 (2018) and the Energy Union 1999 (2018). From 2023 onwards, the post-2020 reporting of the EU GHG inventory will be based on Regulation 1999 (replacing Regulation 525) and includes for the first time the LULUCF sector (under LULUCF 841) into the 2030 EU climate targets. This requires increasing the confidence of LULUCF estimates for more reliable GHG inventories to monitor the progress towards reduction targets. As such, the LULUCF inventory will not only undergo a QA/QC check (as has been the case so far), but also a substantial European revision (and, where needed, correction) as is done for all other sectors. This means a significant effort to increase the accuracy of estimates and thus the trust on LULUCF numbers, for which Earth Observation/Copernicus data are needed.
The CHE project was therefore asked by the CO2 Monitoring Task Force to hold a workshop to clarify the different definitions and methods used in the current reporting and identify a roadmap for greenhouse gas monitoring of the AFOLU sector and its components as part of the Copernicus anthropogenic CO2 emissions Monitoring and Verification Support (CO2MVS) capacity.
The workshop, which was by invitation only to keep the discussion dynamic and focused, attracted around 40 participants from the European Commission, the CHE and VERIFY projects, some EU member states, the IPCC, the EEA and the JRC. The discussions touched on four themes (international and European reporting requirements, EU member state reporting, the role of Earth Observation, and current state of science activities), which were all introduced by one of the speakers. There was also a presentation reporting on an earlier workshop from the VERIFY project that had touched on some of these aspects as well. Discussions supported by an online interaction platform were lively and helped to create a better understanding between the different communities and to generate some good ideas about the potential of the Copernicus CO2MVS to support the reporting and monitoring challenges around the AFOLU sector.
All presentations, which provide a very good and up-to-date overview of the current state of affairs regarding the AFOLU reporting, can be found at https://www.che-project.eu/events/afolu-workshop.