SCANDINAVIA – MEPs, ministers and environmental groups met yesterday to discuss the sustainability of Scandinavian biomass, at an event organised by ClientEarth, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), BirdLife Europe and FERN.In 2010 half of the EU27 renewable energy came from wood and wood waste (eurostat) and bioenergy will account for over 10 per cent of total energy consumption in the EU by 2020. Scandinavian forests will potentially significantly supply this market.
Speaking prior to the event, Faustine Defossez, Bioenergy Policy Officer, European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said: “Sustainability Criteria need to ensure that burning biomass for energy leads to emissions reductions in the short term in order to help us achieve our climate goals. Under current EU rules this is far from guaranteed, to put it mildy.”
Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy, BirdLife Europe added: “The current biomass gold rush is damaging to both biodiversity and climate. We urgently need a sustainability framework that also protects our forests. Scandinavian governments should support the framework instead of boycotting it.”
Giuseppe Nastasi, Biomass Lawyer, Client Earth, said: “It is regrettable that taxpayer money should be used to subsidisethe burning of wood without mandatory sustainability control. Combustion of wood results in significant greenhouse gas emissions – in stark contrast with the current ‘zero-emissions’ treatment of the energy generated. Current regulations must be improved so subsidies are only granted where environmental benefits are actually achieved.”