TEG report calls for sharp curb to wood biomass burning
An independent EU Technical Expert Group (TEG) report just published recommends that only residues, thinnings and stumps should qualify as wood bioenergy fuel, along with separate “advanced bioenergy” feedstocks under the new Sustainable Finance Taxonomy (see technical annex for feedstocks).
This in turn will determine eligibility for “green investment” status, counting towards renewable energy targets and involving literally hundreds of billions of Euros.
The recommendation is in sharp contrast to the broad leeway given for “whole tree” wood use by the EU’s Renewable Directive II.
Wild Europe proposes new approaches in the wood bioenergy campaign
The cost of wood burning for bioenergy continues to climb steeply.
A succession of scientific reviews has clearly demonstrated that a practice which now utilises nearly 50% of European timber output is not carbon neutral. It worsens climate change while destroying forest biodiversity, is notoriously energy-inefficient and wastes literally billions of euro annually in subsidies.
In Sound Science for Forests and Bioenergy, a newly released consultation document following its recent conference in Bratislava, Wild Europe proposes new approaches and alliances for tackling this situation. It calls in particular for wider engagement between conservationists, consumer groups, taxpayer associations and investment advisors.
“These other interests may not share the same environmental objectives” said Toby Aykroyd, Wild Europe coordinator “but they have a duty of care to clients and members to ensure that their money is not misspent. By making common cause, we can greatly strengthen our impact on policy makers and corporate shareholders who are slow to heed scientific conclusions in the face of heavy lobbying by bioenergy producers and parts of the forestry sector.”
Wood bioenergy “undermines every aspect” of the EU Green Deal
Wild Europe’s draft consultation report, Sound Science for Forests and Bioenergy, examines the impact of wood burning for bioenergy the eight key elements in the European Commission’s draft Green Deal, published on 11th December 2019.
All elements are significantly undermined, as outlined below.
Forestry leaders confirm their support for old growth forest
Clear support for the concept and value of old growth forest was expressed by leaders of the European forestry sector at the seminal EU International Conference on Forests for Biodiversity and Climate Change in Brussels.
Hubert de Schorlemer President of the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) – in grey suit – confirmed “If the small forests we still have which are really really old, we don’t afford to cut them down, no that’s clear“
Reinhardt Nerf, President of the European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) – in green jacket – stated “We see the very old forest as a focus of biodiversity and we take it out of timber usage”
Brexit – still time for to influence UK environmental policy
The Shakespearean theatre of Brexit completed its final act on 31st January 2020. Accomplishment of a damaging misrepresentation or a visionary “taking back of control”, according to your viewpoint. We now need to move on.
Wild Europe marked the occasion by funding the latest stage of a wild nature mapping and strategy programme by our partners in France.
There is scope for us all to influence the consequences for environmental policy, from within the UK and – for a short while – also through pan European representation to EC negotiators
As Slovakia’s President opens the conference, EC Director General calls for stringent new protection – and restoration across Europe
Participants were honoured by a warm welcome from Her Excellency President Zuzana Caputova of Slovakia, who provided patronage for Wild Europe’s wilderness and old growth forest conference on 20th and 21st November.
Herself a winner of the coveted Goldman Prize for environmental achievement, President Caputova has an understanding of conservation issues rare among national leaders.
Recommendations from the conference, together with input subsequently received from partners, is being incorporated into a Message from Bratislava to be circulated shortly.
Wild Europe online submission to EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy
Our input to the consultation exercise stressed the key importance of large natural ecosystem areas to the Strategy for adoption at the October 2020 UN Kunming conference.
This provided a brief summary, with input to follow in a Message from Bratislava containing recommendations from our conference in Slovakia on 20/21 November, and from partners in the Wild Europe network.
For climate change and biodiversity loss to be effectively tackled, and the failures of the 2010 Strategy not to be repeated, a quantum change in the capacity of the conservation sector, NGOs and EC alike, will be essential.