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February 12, 2016

Calls for wood biomass to be removed from EU Renewable Energy Directive

Calls for wood biomass to be removed from EU Renewable Energy Directive

More than 110 environmental groups across the globe have signed a declaration demanding that bioenergy be excluded from the EU's next Renewable Energy Directive (RED). This is stated in a press release issued by The RED will be renewed in 2020 and the EU’s consultations on the issue finished on the 10th of February, expecting a decision by the end of the year.

Following the Paris agreement signed in December 2015, the RED will be responsible for meeting EU’s carbon emissions reductions targets. The EU already has two-thirds of energy classed as renewable, that include bioenergy, making it account for playing a major part in EU’s renewable energy strategy.

"Burning wood for energy increases carbon pollution in the atmosphere for decades to centuries, published science shows. Indeed, so-called "biomass" is even more carbon-intensive than coal when measured at the smokestack. The EU, however, currently treats wood energy as "carbon neutral" despite contrary scientific evidence,” said Dogwood Alliance, the US wood protection group.

They added that this point of view damages the forests. The major impact on the forests and the communities of the Southern US will be seen by the increasing demand for European wood pellets globally, especially from the US, as Adam Macon from Dogwood Alliance explained.

"We've joined with over 110 other groups to send a strong signal to the EU and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that they must change their mind on bioenergy or risk doing far more harm than good. It's clear that support for bioenergy in the EU is directly impacting forests internationally and the people that depend on them, as well as incentivizing even greater carbon emissions,” Macon added.

The same group stated that EPA is being pushed to classify biomass energy as a "carbon neutral" method of complying with the Clean Power Plan's carbon pollution standards for power plants, by the forest products industry and several states in the US.

The Senate adopted an amendment to a bipartisan energy bill that could force EPA and other agencies to ignore biomass carbon pollution despite the science.

Kevin Bundy, senior attorney and climate legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said that "the science is clear that large-scale burning of wood to generate electricity will make the climate crisis worse, so it shouldn't be used in Europe or the US."

Bundy also added that the EU now has to mend its anti-science mistake as o avoid a repetition of it.







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