Press release: European Commission calls burning of trees ‘sustainable’ energy – 97% of European forests could be threatened with destruction
The European Commission today published its legislative package “Fit For 55”, a basket of policy proposals to reduce EU emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels. However, updates to the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) actively go against it of this objective and therefore threaten to run counter to any progress made by this package.
VSCurrently, the EU obtains around 60% of its energy from the combustion of biomass or fuels derived from biomass, 18% of this by burning forest wood, and around 40% comes from renewable and sustainable energy sources. climate, such as wind and solar power.
The RED proposal will be encourage a further increase in tree burning as it will continue to view it as a sustainable and climate-friendly source of energy. But burning wood emits even more carbon dioxide than burning fossil fuels, regardless of its source. 
The Commission’s revised RED proposal:
Wrongly continues to count burnt trees for energy as zero carbon in the energy sector.
Does nothing to stop the burning of bioenergy raw materials that do more harm than good to the climate, such as forest biomass.
Introduces no-go zones for supply, like primary forests. Problem: these forests represent only 3% of the EU’s forests, leaving the remaining 97% still open for logging.
Includes weak language that member states must grant no support for burning high quality wood such as “veneer logs” for energy, which has little effect as the industry mainly burns wood of low financial value, but with high biodiversity and carbon value.
Does nothing to reduce the amount of wood burned or the particulate air pollution it gives off.
Does not include any additional restrictions on the use of food and feed crops for biofuels and biogas. These biofuels are linked to intensive agricultural production in Europe and deforestation abroad.
In February, more than 500 scientists wrote to the EU warning that “many studies have shown that this wood burning will increase warming for decades, if not centuries.” This is true even when wood replaces coal, oil or natural gas.
At the same time, the demand for forest biomass increases the pressure of logging on EU forests which are already heavily exploited. EU countries estimated that 79% of forest habitats are threatened by forestry activities. On top of that, forest carbon sinks are decreasing and are expected to decrease by a third by 2030.
Commission Vice-President Timmermans himself had promised to ensure that bioenergy “does no more harm than good”. But onefter fierce lobbying pressure from the Swedish and Finnish intensive forestry lobbies, representing two of the most forested countries in the EU, the Commission gave in.
Ariel Brunner, Senior Policy Officer, BirdLife Europe:
“We have never known better how to fight the climate crisis than today. Even the average citizen is surely to be aware of logging and burng forests For energy, or burn food in our cars, is not just bad for the environment, but destroys one of the main things on which the survival of humanity depends. If approved, the Renewable Energy Directive undermine the rest of the Fit for 55 package, and contribute to wipeis lying outside forests and the fauna that depends on them . We hope that the EU Council and European Parliament listen to science and common sense to ensure that the EU’s renewable energy target is met by, legitimately green, clean and renewable sources. “
For more information please contact:
Bioenergy activist, BirdLife Europe & NABU
+49 172 279 4860
BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is a partnership of 43 national conservation organizations organizations and a leader in bird conservation. Our unique local to global approach allows us to deliver high impact and long-term conservation for the benefit of nature and people. BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is one of the six regional secretariats that make up BirdLife International. Based in Brussels, it supports the European and Central Asian partnership and is present in 43 countries, including all EU Member States. With more than 4,100 employees in Europe, two million members and tens of thousands of qualified volunteers, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, with its national partners, own or manage more than 6,000 natural sites totaling 320,000 hectares.