Keeping bioenergy out of REPower EU: open letter to EU Commission
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By Kenneth Richter, Bioenergy policy officer for Birdlife Europe
Birdlife Europe, together with more than 13 other NGOs have called on the EU Commission to remove bioenergy, produced by burning wood and food crops, from a list of energy sources that should be ramped up to replace Russian fossil fuels imports in the so-called REPowerEU plan.
While a rapid increase of climate- and nature-friendly renewables energy is a crucial step to wean Europe of Russian imports of fossil fuel, burning even more wood and food crops for energy would worsen the climate crisis and undermine food security. It also costs the EU billions in public health costs due to the air pollution it causes.
Further, burning wood cannot replace any meaningful fraction of Russian fossil fuels. To replace the energy from even just 10% of Russian fossil fuel imports would require at least a 60% increase in wood-burning, which would devastate Europe’s forests, already under pressure.
While we fully support the EU’s aims of rapidly transitioning to cleaner energy as well as ending energy imports from Russia, we urge the Commission to keep a science-based position on this and to reject the proposal to include bioenergy in the REPower Europe Joint Action plan.
Precisely because of the Ukraine war, the last thing we need today is additional pressure on land use, particularly for an inefficient source of energy like bioenergy that requires at least ten times more land than solar photovoltaics (PV) for the same energy output.