It’s worrying that after 2020, EU Member States will continue to support bioenergy that will come from increased harvesting of forests for biomass, as well as the burning of whole trees and stumps. But that fact that the EU adopted a sustainability package on the use of woody biomass, and adopted restrictions for the use of woody biomass in inefficient power installations, were positive developments. Plus, the new policy allows Member States to adopt stricter requirements, something we can build on.
We would have liked to have seen much stricter requirements that would result in capping the use of forest biomass for energy. But while we didn’t get this, there was a significant shift, especially considering it is less than 10 years since this policy was introduced.
To mitigate climate change, we have to capture more carbon dioxide (CO2) in forests, while also capturing more carbon in wood products. The EU is today, however, (only) supporting direct burning of wood, resulting in the immediate release of CO2 into the atmosphere. This is not a sustainable use of a limited resource which gives a home to the vast majority of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.
We will have to live with the EU’s new renewable energy framework until 2030. But during this time we can build understanding of its impacts on the climate, as well as on forest and communities. We need to present a new, modern vision for forests that embraces the climate ambition that we have under the Paris Agreement, as well as forests’ other benefits, including providing jobs, enhancing our health and biodiversity protection.”