Burn or Restore: New BirdLife Report on Global Land Demand
Land is a finite resource. Yet increasing demands are placing increasingly competing pressures on the world’s lands and ecosystems. A new report from Birdlife Europe examines these competing pressures on land in light of climate and biodiversity crises, and the results are crystal clear. Governments and industry must stop burning trees for bioenergy, and instead urgently reserve land for nature. Bioenergy is a bogus climate solution that adds emissions to the atmosphere and destroys wildlife habitats.
The way land is currently used is already not sustainable. Our planet cannot afford to use more land to produce biomass, which ends up being burnt for energy. In this report, BirdLife Europe proposes a set of principles to guide EU policies affecting future land use, so that they do not continue to fuel climate and biodiversity crises.
The debate over how much land is available is often flawed because it is based on the question of what land assets can be sacrificed. More and more habitable land around the world is being used for agriculture, to feed a growing population. The vast majority of this land is used to feed livestock. In recent times, renewable energy incentives have added new pressures on land, especially through the large-scale growth of bioenergy feedstocks.
But our current use of land is already unsustainable, and in order to mitigate biodiversity loss and climate change, we urgently need to reserve land for nature. It is essential that the European Commission, in its next revision of the European Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), takes into account the intrinsic value of land for climate change mitigation and protection of biodiversity and put an end to burning trees and crops for energy.