Environmental justice campaigners have warned that the Winter Package on Climate and Energy released by the European Commission yesterday was a missed chance by the European Union to stop supporting the damaging practice of burning trees to produce biomass energy.
In fact, the revised Renewable Energy Directive actually increases our reliance on biomass. This is despite a growing campaign making it very clear that woody biomass is not a truly renewable or carbon neutral resource and should not be classified in the same way as other renewables such as wind, wave and solar, plus burning wood for energy production has a damaging impact on forests around the world.
Nina Holland, a Corporate Europe Observatory researcher, responded to the package arguing that the wood pellets industry was very active in lobbying the European Commission in advance of the decision whether to continue to support biomass as a renewable energy source. She said that the lobbyists claimed their products were sustainable. "Several environmental groups have proven how false this claim is. They show that the burning of wood pellets can result in even higher carbon emissions than those from fossil fuels," she said.
The campaigners were hoping that the new package would reverse the current support for bioenergy as part of the renewable energy mix.
Biofuelwatch's Almuth Ernsting added: “A Renewable Energy Directive which once again boosts industrial bioenergy will move the EU further in the wrong direction. We need meaningful action to curb the EU’s overconsumption of energy, and to only focus support measures on genuinely climate-friendly and renewable forms of energy.”