Call for cessation of commercial bioenergy at UNFCC conference

Bonn 2024, Credit: UNclimatechange.

Representatives from five continents called to a rapid and drastic reduction in burning of forest biomass – dubbing it a ‘fake’ form of renewable energy – at the UN conference in Bonn on 8th June.

Wild Europe’s presentation, as part of this call, focused on the need to reallocate all existing official subsidies to alternative far more effective means of addressing climate change.

Current support for forest bioenergy totals some 8 billion EUR per year in the EU alone. This is likely to rise to over 30 billion EUR pa by 2050 if attempts are made to implement BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) – a highly expensive, technically compromised procedure never previously tried at scale.

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Clouds gather over European environmental policy – a way ahead

Thirsty for environmental finance

Just as 2023 was declared the hottest year on record, the last few weeks have seen a series of setbacks to essential environmental reforms. 

CAP reform measures are being eroded, there are calls for the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) to be delayed and diluted, massive further funding is recommended for  solid (forest) bioenergy that worsens climate change with higher emissions than fossil fuels. 

Now the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) is also faltering, and the Forest Monitoring Law (FML) is under threat from gross over-simplification.

This article proposes reforms to address the NRL and FML situations in particular.

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Nature Restoration Law (NRL) passed – lessons for the future

Nature – and the economy – triumphs over 275 Neros. For now.

At last a prize worth cheering about, as the European parliament votes 329 votes in favour, 275 against, to back the NRL.

The final step will involve Council endorsement towards the end of March, with Environment Ministers meeting on 26th. Thereafter successful implementation will depend on Member States adopting effective National Restoration Plans. 

Behind the celebrations there is much ground to cover.

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UK Government warned against adoption of ‘deeply flawed’ BECCS energy policy

In its response to the Government’s consultation on subsidies for Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage on 29th February, Wild Europe has strongly advised the cessation of all further support for solid (forest) bioenergy.

Replacing fossil fuels with bioenergy that has higher emissions, even than coal, is not a genuine clean energy policy” argued Toby Aykroyd. “Burying these emissions underground in a hugely expensive process, untried at scale, merely compounds the error.”

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Welcome to Kriton Arsenis

We are very pleased to welcome Kriton as a trustee of Wild Europe Foundation.

Twice voted “MEP of the Year” by his colleagues in the European Parliament for achievements in forest and marine conservation during his tenure from 2009 – 2014, he has a significant track record as environmentalist and politician.

He played a key role in development of forest policy, including establishment of the EU Timber Regulation, and led the Parliament in adopting EU legislation on monitoring emissions from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), as well as ending important derogations of EU environmental assessment legislation. Kriton has since been a member of the Greek parliament until 2023.

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Rescuing the Nature Restoration Law

NRL squeezed though the European Parliament, but fundamental reforms are needed for it to succeed

It is a stark but surprisingly little-known fact that farming and forestry interests opposing the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) represent less than 2.5% of Gross Domestic Product in the EU. 

Yet the costs of inappropriate management in worsening climate change and ecological degradation fall on the remaining 97.5% of the economy.

A letter sent by Wild Europe to each of the 51 MEPs in the Environment Committee and the Agriculture & Rural Development Committee on 10th July, just prior to the vote on the NRL, pointed out this GDP mismatch and stressed that it was in the interests of all sectors of the economy to get the Law voted through.

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European Business & Biodiversity Forum shows the need for alliance

The growing urgency of climate change and biodiversity loss necessitates rapid increase in mutual understanding between business and biodiversity. 

The European Business and Biodiversity Forum, involving some 500 enterprises on 21stJune in Paris, sought to address this issue.

Wild Europe’s presentation to the Forum stressed the important role of companies in conservation, particularly restoration, and outlined measures needed to enhance this.

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France – a leader for restoring ‘true nature’ in Europe

Non-intervention conservation – the French connection gathers momentum

With its great scale, bio-geographical variety and management expertise France is destined to be a leader in restoration of ‘true’ wild nature. Recent growth in support for non-intervention practice is making this a reality.

Coordination Evolution Libre (CEL), literally meaning coordination of free evolution, is one such entity. Founded scarcely 3 years ago by a group of distinguished naturalists, writers and scientists, it is evolving rapidly from a core of 15 organisations, linking to a network of initiatives in the field and a significant group of supportive MPs in the French Parliament. 

Summarised in the clarion call “Let’s make room for true nature”, CEL draws on Wild Europe’s definition of wilderness – areas of natural ecosystem – calling for non-intervention to be the keynote for President Macron’s vision of “protection forte” (strong protection).

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