In a Nutshell
- Latvia’s long-term climate strategy estimates that about 3.6MtCO2 emissions will remain to be compensated by CDR in 2050. Bio-CCS is mentioned in some policy documents, without clarifying to which extent it will be used.
- Latvia is developing a climate law which could allow geological CO2 storage. The current Law on Pollution prohibits CO2 storage.
- The Riga Technical University and the University of Latvia are leading several CCUS research projects and studies.
- The adoption date of the climate law is still unknown. Latvia must also still submit its draft updated National and Energy Climate Plan.
Role for carbon removal in national climate policy
Latvia has committed to reaching climate neutrality by 2050 through its long-term climate strategy (LTS) released in 2018. The strategy is built around two complementary objectives: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors and to increase carbon dioxide removal capacities.
The LTS estimates that about 3.6MtCO2 emissions will remain in 2050, which, according to the strategy, will need to be compensated by removals from the land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector. The strategy does not foresee the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) or carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) until 2030. According to the LTS, the lower cost of CCU increases its deployment potential over the more expensive CCS.
While Latvia has not yet submitted a draft updated version of its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), its current NECP sets target indicators for the LULUCF sector. Between 2021 and 2025, emissions from afforested land, deforested land, managed forest land, and managed cropland and grassland must not exceed removals. From 2026 to 2030, wetlands are also included.
The NECP details the key measures for the LULUCF sector. These include improving CO2 removals in forest stands through afforestation and using wood products in construction. However, the NECP also states that agriculture and forestry must contribute significantly to bioenergy. It mentions “promoting the use of negative emission technologies in electricity generation” as one “action line” for the LULUCF sector. Negative emission technologies in electricity generation are also mentioned as part of the action plan for other areas such as energy production, energy security, and transport. The NECP states that 2% of its investments in R&D and innovation in the field of energy for the period 2021-2027 should be invested in CCS.
Latvia’s Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plan includes support for environmentally and climate-friendly agricultural practices, such as promoting the maintenance of carbon stocks in soils and grassland conservation. Sustainable forestry practices are also pushed forward, including support for private forest owners to increase forests’ CO2 sequestration capacity. Forests account for 52% of Latvia’s surface area, and more than half of these forests are privately owned.
Relevant legal frameworks
A Climate Law is under development in Latvia. The current draft version defines climate neutrality as a balance between greenhouse gas emissions and removals, and removals are defined as per the EU LULUCF Regulation. The current draft would potentially allow the geological storage of CO2, a development suggested by some actors from the industrial sector.
Currently, the Law on Pollution prohibits geological CO2 storage in Latvia. The new climate law will replace the Law on Pollution once it enters into force.
Internationally, Latvia is not a party to the London Convention or the London Protocol.
Support for R&D and Innovation
The Riga Technical University and the University of Latvia lead several CCUS research projects, on top of multiple ongoing and published studies. The CO2 Deal project aims to develop a roadmap for decision-makers on the effective valorisation of CO2 in Latvia. The CCSW aims to expand the knowledge base on integrating CCS on municipal solid waste treatment plants.
The cement company Schwenk Latvia is planning the construction of a pilot CCS plant at one of its plants. The company is also involved in the transborder CCS Baltic Consortium project with Lithuanian cement company Akmenés Cementas. The project has been granted Project of Common Interest status in November 2023. It will consist of carbon capture facilities, on-shore transportation through rail and trucks, and a multimodal CO2 export/import terminal in Klaipéda port in Lithuania. The final geological storage location is currently unknown.
On the horizon
Initially planned to be adopted on 1 December 2023, the Climate Law is still pending adoption.
The draft updated NECP still needs to be submitted to the European Commission. The delay is likely due to the recent creation of the Ministry of Climate and Energy.
- Net zero target: 2050
- Net Negative Target:
- First interim target: 2030
- Type of interim target: Emissions reduction target
- GHGs covered: Carbon dioxide and other GHGs
- Separate target for emission reduction and removals: No
- Comprehensive CDR Target: no
- CDR Target for Conventional Removals: yes
- CDR Target for Novel Removals: no
- Historical emissions:
- Annual reporting mechanism: Annual reporting
- Plans for carbon removal (CDR): Not Specified
- Planning to use external carbon credits: Not Specified
- Conditions on use of carbon credits:
- Ministry of Climate and Energy – Created in January 2023 following the reorganisation of the Ministry of Economics and Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.
- Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development – Responsible for environmental protection, regional development and digital transformation.
- Ministry of Agriculture – Responsible for agricultural matters, rural development, food, veterinary, forest sector and fisheries policies.
- Ministry of Education and Science – Responsible for education, science, sports, youth and state language policies in Latvia.
- Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center – National institution in charge matters surrounding the country’s geosphere.
- Riga Technical University – The oldest higher technical educational establishment in the Baltic States.
- University of Latvia – Leading higher education in Latvia.