Does the EU Commission’s proposal come clean on bioenergy?
On Wednesday 29 March 2017, MEPs Bas Eickhout (Greens / EFA) and Jo Leinen (S&D) hosted a discussion on bioenergy sustainability at the European Parliament, in Brussels. The event summarized the research behind the climate impact concerns raised on bioenergy and also promoted discussion on the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) and its means of addressing sustainability.
The sustainability of bioenergy incentivized by European
renewable energy policies is a decisive factor for the objectives of the EUs 2030 climate and energy policies. From crop based biofuels in transport to wood pellets in electricity, concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of bioenergy to fight climate change in a sustainable manner.
The Commission’s new Clean Energy Package proposes new measures for the sustainability of bioenergy, which will now be negotiated in the Parliament as part of the Renewable Energy Directive.
The big question is: “Does the EU Commission’s proposal come clean on bioenergy?”
The event hosted at the European Parliament presented a summary of the research by key experts in the field behind the sustainability concerns raised on bioenergy and analyze whether the policies proposed live up to the challenge. In the presentations, the need to distinguish between different types of bioenergy was highlighted. You can find each expert’s presentation below.
Forest carbon and woody bioenergy – what does the Commission’s
Jacopo Giuntoli, Scientific Officer, European Commission Joint Research Centre
“When looking at forest biomass sources some residues can provide emission savings, but sawn wood and stumps do not”, Jacopo Giuntoli explained the study by Joint Research Center.
Using land to grow bioenergy?
Timothy Searchinger, Research Scholar, Princeton University
Princeton University Research Scholar Timothy Searchinger explained the differences between terminology: “Being renewable does not make bioenergy carbon neutral. Your paycheck is also renewable, but you are using it to something and would not give it away just because you know there is another one coming in later.”
Cost effective share of bioenergy in the EU’s energy mix?
Bettina Kampman, Manager – Energy, CE Delft
Bettina Kampman from CE Delft introduced a new study on the cost effective share of bioenergy in the EU’s energy mix for 2030, that is lower than the Commission assumes. “Huge growth potential for solar, wind and geothermal energy remains also after 2030.”
Bioenergy sustainability in the Renewable Energy Directive
Ben Allen, Senior Policy Analyst, Institute for European Environmental Policy
Ways forward from the environmental NGO perspective
Sini Eräjää, EU Bioenergy Policy Officer BirdLife Europe & Central Asia
Ways forward from the wood industry perspective
Clive Pinnington, Managing Director, European Panel Federation
The event was organised by BirdLife Europe & Central Asia, Fern, Transport and Environment, and was hosted by members of the Parliament Bas Eickhout and Jo Leinen. The discussions on the RED II proposal will continue at the European Parliament as soon as the competence between ITRE and ENVI committee are resolved.
Banner photo: © Transport & Environment