The European fee has printed its “Fit For 55” legislative bundle, a basket of coverage proposals that purpose to scale back the EU’s emissions by 55% by 2030 in comparison with 1990 ranges. However, the updates to the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) will actively work in opposition to this aim, and due to this fact threaten to work in opposition to any progress this bundle makes.
Currently, the EU will get roughly 60% of its power from combusting biomass or biomass-derived fuels, 18% of that by burning forest wooden, and round 40% comes from precise renewable, climate-friendly power, comparable to wind and solar energy.
The RED proposal will encourage a additional improve in tree burning as it should proceed to contemplate it a climate-friendly, sustainable power supply. But burning wooden emits even extra carbon dioxide than burning fossil fuels, no matter how it’s sourced.
Black Woodpecker, copyright Glyn Sellors, from the surfbirds galleries
The Commission proposal for the reviewed RED:
- Wrongly continues to depend burning timber for power as zero-carbon within the power sector.
- Does nothing to finish the burning of bioenergy feedstocks that do extra hurt than good for the local weather, comparable to forest biomass.
- Introduces no-go areas for sourcing, comparable to major forests. Problem: such forests solely characterize 3% of EU forests, leaving the remaining 97% nonetheless open to exploitation.
- Includes weak language that Member States shall grant no assist for the burning of prime quality wooden comparable to “veneer logs” for power, which has little impact as the business primarily burns wooden of low monetary worth, however of excessive biodiversity and carbon worth.
- Does nothing to scale back the quantity of wooden being burned or the particulate air air pollution it releases.
- Includes no further restrictions on using meals and feed crops for biofuels and biogas. Such biofuels are linked to intensive agricultural manufacturing in Europe and deforestation overseas.
In February greater than 500 scientists wrote to the EU warning that “quite a few research have proven, this burning of wooden will improve warming for many years to centuries. That is true even when the wooden replaces coal, oil or pure fuel.”
At the identical time, demand for forest biomass will increase logging strain on EU forests which might be already closely harvested. EU international locations have estimated that 79% of priceless forest habitats are threatened by forestry actions. In addition to this, forest carbon sinks are reducing and set to scale back by a 3rd by 2030.
Commission vp Timmermans had himself promised to make it possible for bioenergy “doesn’t do extra hurt than that it does good”. But after fierce lobbying strain from Swedish and Finnish intensive forestry lobbies, representing two of probably the most closely forested international locations within the EU, the Commission caved in.
Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe:
“We have by no means recognized extra about tips on how to struggle the local weather disaster than we do proper now. Even the common citizen is certainly conscious that logging and burning forests for power, or burning meals in our automobiles, isn’t simply unhealthy for the atmosphere, however is destroying one of many foremost issues the survival of humanity hinges on. If accepted, the Renewable Energy Directive will undermine the remainder of the Fit for 55 bundle, and contribute to wiping out forests and the wildlife that relies on them . We hope the EU Council and the European Parliament hearken to the science, and customary sense, to make sure the EU’s renewable power goal is met by, legitimately inexperienced, clear and renewable sources.”