Europe and Central Asia
1 Jun 2021

The EU must stop burning its forests and biodiversity

NGOs ask the European Union to stop supporting fake ‘renewable’ energy that burns forest biomass

© Frank Van Dongen, Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
By Marianna Colonna
The EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED) has had a devastating effect on forests so far, but thanks to the European Green Deal, this can change. Right now, there is a major opportunity to ensure that the EU energy law contributes to, rather than undermines, the EU’s climate and biodiversity goals.
 
The EU support for bioenergy has dramatically increased the burning of forest biomass and agricultural crops for energy, causing numerous problems for the climate, for wildlife, and for the people who rely on forests. Billions of Euros in subsidies have been spent on fake renewable solutions such as keeping old coal-burning power plants going with biomass rather than allocating the money to cleaner alternatives such as wind and solar.
 
Burning primary woody biomass typically increases emissions for decades or even centuries compared to coal, but emissions must be reduced and removed today. 
 
Most EU biofuels used for transport not only damage food security but are worse for the climate than fossil fuels, and the growing EU demand for crops like palm oil or soy is driving deforestation. 
 
The European Commission is expected to propose changes to the RED in July 2021, and these will then be examined by the European Parliament and Council. 
 
With our position paper, Birdlife Europe, Greenpeace, FERN, Transport & Environment, NRDC, PFPI and Client Earth point out the existing solutions and what needs to happen for the EU to create a science-aligned bioenergy policy that Europeans can support and the world can follow. 
 


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