Forests and habitats in exchange for energy?

Posted on Posted in Opinion

By Zeynep Karasin, Media relations officer at BirdLife Europe & Central Asia.

BirdLife Europe and Central Asia’s statement on the Renewable Energy Directive vote in the European Parliament’s environmental committee on the evening of the 23 October 2017:

Today’s vote in the Parliament confirms the EU’s commitment to phasing out damaging biofuels in transport but completely fails to secure climate friendly use of biomass in heating and electricity.

“Parliament’s vote today strengthens the EU’s commitment to phase out EU’s food and feed-based biofuels with negative climate impact but introduces no new renewable energy targets which would encourage such biofuels. The energy and industry committee of the Parliament now needs to follow this lead when finalizing the Parliament’s position and see beyond the short term economic interests of subsidies dependent biofuel industries.” said Sini Eräjää, EU bioenergy policy officer, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia.

BirdLife Europe and Central Asia also welcomes that Parliament calls for a more ambitious overall share of renewable energy and introduces new environmental safeguards for the planning of environmentally sound energy transition.

The Parliament however failed to put an end to growing exploitation of forests for energy, weakening even the Commission’s weak proposal for sustainability requirements on forest biomass.

“The outcome of the vote today allows increased exploitation of forests and logging of sensitive habitats just to burn the wood for energy said Sini Eräjää, “we’ll see more EU mandated use of whole trees or stumps despite a wide scientific acknowledgement that is bad for the climate”. This outcome fails both forest conservation and climate mitigation, and it also fails to provide long term stability for truly sustainable bioenergy producers, such as the ones processing waste streas.

The ball is now with the rest of the Parliament and with member states who can still make changes to the proposed legislation. “We need an urgent reckoning from all involved. Another 10 years of mindless support for burning forests would make the Paris objectives unachievable and drive massive loss of biodiversity and land conflicts”  said Sini Eräjää.

For further information, please contact:
Sini Eräjää, EU bioenergy policy officer
BirdLife Europe & Central Asia
Sini.Erajaa@birdlife.org  
+32 (0)476 975 960

Banner photo: © Shutterstock

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