EU should stop burning forests for energy: our recommendations for the EU Parliament’s ITRE Committee
On July 13, the European Parliament’s Industry committee (ITRE) is voting on their amendments to the new version of the Renewable Energy Directive, which is the directive that regulates how, and which renewable energy is subsidized.
This vote will have far reaching consequences for European forests. Until now, the old version of the directive invites Member States to subsidize the production of energy by logging and burning their forests. A nonsensical practice in the context of the climate and biodiversity crisis.
The MEPs decision will determine the future of our forests: voting for more subsidies for bioenergy will increase the pressure on EU forests, already damaged by over-logging. About half of the forest harvest is already burned for energy.
Earlier in the year the parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) recommended to end support for the burning of virgin wood.
Now, we are asking the ITRE committee to support ENVI’s recommendation and to enshrine the “cascading principle” (= prioritising material use of wood over burning it) in the legislation.
We believe our forests must remain standing to support vital biodiversity and keep CO2 sequestered to help EU climate goals. The annual €12 billion of subsidies for bioenergy should instead be invested in real renewables like solar, wind, and geothermal.
Our voting recommendations for the ITRE vote on RED
The EU needs to protect and restore forests, for people, for biodiversity and for the climate – not log them for energy. MEPs, please vote to protect our future:
1. Definition of Primary Woody Biomass and Secondary Woody Biomass
ENVI AMs 33 & 34 – Art 2.2 (new) & ENVI AM 8 (recital 4)
- The distinction between primary and secondary woody biomass allows for stopping support for burning primary wood for energy, the most valuable wood in forest biomass. This definition is an integral part of ENVI’s Opinion on support schemes and should be supported by ITRE.
2. Cascading Principle
- Support the full application of the cascading principle of a hierarchy of use for wood, respecting wood as a valuable economic resource and using wood according to its highest material use – first priority for long lived products. ITRE CA2 covers the application of this principle via an implementing act instead of the proposed delegated act.
3. Sustainability criteria and support schemes
Article 29: REJECT ITRE AMs: 68-70; 1167-1196
- All amendments tabled to Article 29 either weaken or delete biomass sustainability criteria, or remove protective measures for forests. They should therefore be rejected. The ENVI Opinion on Art 29 (ENVI ams 91-105), should be supported in full at plenary.