EU Cuts Green Energy Subsidies for “Environmentally Destructive” Tree Burning

Essay by Eric Worrall

European greens have apparently noticed that chopping down forests causes environmental harm.

EU limits subsidies for burning trees under renewable energy directive

MEPs vote on amendment to phase down share of wood counted as renewable but reject calls for complete phaseout

Jennifer Rankin in Brussels Thu 15 Sep 2022 02.00 AEST

The European parliament has called to end public subsidies for the environmentally destructive practice of burning trees for fuel, but campaigners warned the plans risked being “too little, too late”.

Voting on an amendment to the EU’s renewable energy directive, MEPs called to “phase down” the share of trees counted as renewable energy in EU targets. But they swerved setting any dates to reduce the burning of “primary wood”. They rejected calls for a complete phaseout of a form of energy generation that scientists have warned releases more carbon into the atmosphere than burning gas or coal.

The EU wants to expand renewable energy as fast as possible, as it seeks to accelerate the green transition and end dependence on Russian fossil fuels. MEPs voted for 45% of EU energy to come from renewable sources by 2030.

Behind this headline target, Europe’s dash for bioenergy has caused growing alarm. More than 500 scientists last year called on EU and world leaders to end subsidies for wood burning.

According to the European Commission, the EU spent €13bn (£11bn) in bioenergy subsidies in 2020, down from €17bn the previous year. NGOs say most of those subsidies go to wood-burning power plants, but could be better targeted on support for clean technology, such as heat pumps.

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I can’t help wondering if a €13-17 billion annual subsidy for chopping down trees and burning them was what the original founders of the environmental movement had in mind, when they first started having their green action group meetings.

via Watts Up With That?

September 15, 2022 at 05:08AM

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