The European Compost Network (ECN) welcomes the new initiative of the European Commission on a Climate Law that will provide for a long-term framework to the EU climate policy and contribute to the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Since the initiative aims to transform the way EU policies are made and to lay down fundamental elements that guide all policies, ECN is worried and concerned that the roadmap does not address in any of its parts the contribution of closed material loops – i.e. circular economy – to decarbonizing the economy.
ECN calls on the Commission to carefully design its climate policy to incentivise the take-up of climate-friendly and sustainable practices, products and technologies. Reuse and recycling should be prioritised over extraction of raw materials, which is a very polluting and energy intensive economic activity.
If the transition to a climate neutral economy is to be irreversible, organic cycles for biological materials must be closed. There is the need to develop a comprehensive strategy to build up organic matter in soils. Organic matter will help maintaining and restoring soil quality, structure and its much-needed water retention capacity. This means that soils will not dry out quickly in summer months, when water is scarce but also that the likelihood of flooding in winter is reduced.
A healthy soil also works as a huge carbon sink and therefore it can sequester even more carbon. Once applied to soils through compost and digestate, organic matter ensures carbon storage for many decades. ECN calls the Commission to propose an EU mandatory target to build up soil organic matter.
The proposal for a climate law is expected to be discussed and potentially adopted by the College of Commissioners on 26 February 2020. Once presented, the proposal would be communicated to the European Parliament and the Council, and would follow the ordinary legislative procedure.
Member State Ministers are provisionally scheduled to discuss the Climate Law on 5 March 2020.
The Commission is expected to present its proposal to the European Parliament on 9 March 2020.
The complete version of ECN’s feedback on the Roadmap on a Climate Law can be accessed here.