By guest author Adam Macon, Dogwood Alliance, USA
Across the United States a growing movement to protect Southern US forests has been gaining attention in Europe. Driven by the well intentioned but unsustainable EU policies towards bioenergy, forests of the Southern US are being clearcut, manufactured into pellets and shipped to European markets to be burned in power stations. This destruction all in the name of “renewable” energy has spurred a movement of citizens, businesses, and NGO’s who are united in an SOS call – Save Our Southern Forests. In less than one year, over 100,000 SOS messages have been sent to decision makers in the EU and UK.
Today, over 50,000 of these SOS messages are being publicly delivered to the Vice President of the EU Commission Frans Timmermanns. Their SOS message is as follows:
“Dear Vice President Timmermans,
We write to express our concerns about the devastation to forests and communities in the Southern United States caused by the rapidly increasing demand for wood pellets that are being burned in European Power stations. We ask you to take action now to value forests for the many critical ecological services that they provide and develop policies that incentivize their protection instead of their destruction.
The increased demand for wood as a fuel source in the EU and particularly in the United Kingdom is driving the expansion of wood pellet manufacturing and export in the Southern US. The production of wood pellets from our forests negatively affects our health, environment, climate and quality of life. This is an SOS message – Save Our Southern Forests!
Additionally, our forests provide many benefits. Standing forests are our best defense against climate change through storing carbon. Forests provide clean air to breathe, water to drink and natural protection from floods and hurricanes. They are also home to countless species of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. Cutting them down as a solution to the climate crisis is bad policy and threatens forests.
Alternatives do exist, including true renewables like solar and wind power that are significantly less destructive sources of energy. Rather then investing in short-term and short-sighted solutions, you should be increasing these types of energy investments. Hear our SOS message. Stop subsidizing the use of trees for dirty fuel and reform your renewable energy policies to reflect 21st-century energy solutions. The future of our forests, climate and health depends on it.”
Our planet demands immediate action to mitigate the worst affects of climate change and the large scale burning of forests for energy is not a solution. The SOS movement is growing and will not be silenced. We hope that the EU Commission will hear this SOS, change coarse on biomass and in doing so, set a new global standard for forest protection.
For Our Forests,
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this guest blog post are those of the author and are not necessarily supported by BirdLife Europe/EEB/T&E.