Answer to Written Question: Peat harvesting

(Source: European Parliament)



Answer given by Vice President Timmermans

on behalf of the European Commission


Peatlands are one of the most valuable carbon sinks, having great potential in terms of climate benefits and environmental co-benefits. The Commission is supporting initiatives aimed at restoring and rewetting drained peatlands, e.g. through the LIFE programme (LIFE Peat Restore). The Just Transition Fund can support investments to alleviate the socio-economic impacts in the regions most affected by the transition to a climate neutral economy by 2050, including the ones dependent on peat.

Raising the water table of drained peatlands not only restores the hydrological balance of soils, but also allows for alternative uses of such land, for example grazing and wet pastures, or paludiculture. Organic by-products from forestry and agriculture can provide sustainable alternatives to peat for the horticulture industry. The European Green Deal promotes a just transition to such sustainable uses of resources within the circular economy and bio-economy initiatives.

The EU internal market allows for free trade among the Member States, which aims at providing improved economic benefits to all. At the same time, the rules subject to which the internal market functions apply equally to all Member States.

Emissions from peat harvesting are accounted in the inventory of the Member States in accordance with the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation[1]. CO2 emissions from transport are addressed through several regulatory instruments at EU-level, including the Regulations setting CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles[2] and light-duty vehicles[3].

[1] Regulation (EU) 2018/841 on inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry in the 2030 climate and energy framework.

[2] Regulation (EU) 2019/1242 setting CO2 emission standards for new heavy-duty vehicles.

[3] Regulation (EU) 2019/631 setting CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and for new light-commercial vehicles.

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