New EU Rules To Allow Burning Of Whole Trees For Biomass

By Paul Homewood




The wood-pellet biomass industry has long maintained that it is only burning wood residues — the bits of trees left over from other uses. Wood that otherwise would have left on the forest floor and decomposed anyway.

Environmental campaigners in the US have uncovered much evidence to indicate that this is not true, and that wood pellet factories there are using whole and healthy trees to supply European biomass plants.

It is significant then that the European Parliament passed new rules last week that officially gave the go ahead to burning whole trees.



Both environmentalists and climate scientists are horrified. Like J Pascal van Ypersele, climate physicist and IPCC Vice Chair:





And the RSPB:

Today’s European Parliament vote, like yesterday’s marine vote, delivers yet another dramatic death blow to our living planet. Razing whole forests to the ground to feed our energy use releases vastly increased carbon into our atmosphere; carbon which would otherwise be naturally stored in the forest. Converting land into biofuel plantations means wiping out nature and evicting local communities. This is a crime when well-located wind and solar power offer viable alternatives. Energy from biomass should be limited to waste and residues, not whole trees, forests and food. Such perverted outcomes do not help in the fight against climate change.


I’m not sure just what legal weight the Parliament’s vote carries, as it does not have much actual authority in practice.

But I think that the vote is a recognition of just how difficult it is to reach its 2030 renewable energy target. Without biomass, which provides a fifth of the EU’s renewable energy, the target would probably be unachievable.


January 26, 2018 at 01:39PM

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