To download this letter as a pdf, click here.

July 5, 2021

We represent a group of Estonian environmental NGOs. Like our colleagues and other stakeholders abroad, we are anxiously waiting the „Fit for 55“ package, and in particular the publication of the revised Renewable Energy Directive on 14 July and the new EU Forest Strategy later in July.

While we understand that last-minute negotiations in the Commission are still ongoing, we read in „Politico Pro“ has come to our attention, asserting that DG Energy has joined industry in criticising the EU Forest Strategy and that “The critical comments made by DG Energy are shared by the forestry and bioenergy industries, including the use of remarkably similar language to describe the operation of forestry industries and their contribution to the mitigation of climate change.”

Taking into account that the Commissioner for Energy, Ms Kadri Simson, comes from Estonia, we would like to present to you our own view.

We are aware that Estonia is increasingly seen as one big pellet factory for Western Europe. But the fact that we produce enormous amounts of pellets[1] compared to our size is just a part of the story that we would not wish to see repeated in other countries.

Here is a selection of additional factors to consider:

  • The European Commission has recently started an infringement procedure[2],[3] against our state, because we have been logging in supposedly protected Natura 2000 areas without environmental impact assessments having been made and have already lost around 15 000 hectares of forest in the period 2001-2019.[4]
  • Many of our protected areas are under growing pressure from logging interests. Protection regimes have been systematically weakened allowing also clear-cuts and logging during the wildlife breeding season in spring and summer.
  • Forests important for communities close to towns and villages are facing the same fate while citizens form NGOs and work voluntarily to save the ecosystems on which their well-being depends.
  • The biodiversity of our forests has been in decline for decades mainly due to habitat loss. From 1983 to 2018, the forest bird population plummeted by 26%.[5]

These are just a few examples to highlight the urgency. Further information can be found in the Estonian Forest Petition.[6]

Please don’t let our Commissioner, Ms Kadri Simson, to cultivate this intensive and devastating “from forest to furnace” forestry model in other countries. It will contribute to ongoing damage not only in the EU, but also in third countries that already supply wood pellets such as the USA, Canada, and Russia.

Rather, listen to the scientists of the Joint Research Council,[7] to the 500+ scientists telling EU to end tree burning for energy and to 92 Estonian scientists,[8] who support the position of their international colleagues.[9]

Please ensure that the forest strategy protects the function of forests as the main host of EU biodiversity, as carbon sinks, and as the places of beauty that they are, and does not become just another tool with which to exploit them.

 Please follow the call of scientists and citizens to discontinue the counting of forest biomass towards the EU’s renewable energy target.

Together we must save Europe’s forests by reducing the pressure of harvesting. We thank you for your attention.

  1. BirdLife Estonia (
  2. Eesti Metsa Abiks (Estonian Forest Aid;
  3. Eesti Metsloomaühing (Estonian Wildlife Center;
  4. Eesti Püsimetsaühistu (Continuous Cover Forest Association;
  5. Eesti Roheline Liikumine (Estonian Green Movement;
  6. Extinction Rebellion
  7. Fridays for Future (
  8. Hiite Maja (House of the Groves Foundation;
  9. Ihaste Elanike Liit (
  10. Keskkonnateabe Ühendus (Foundation of Environmental Information;
  11. Kose valla Loodusselts
  12. Koosloodus SA (Together With Nature Foundation;
  13. Loomus (
  14. Maavalla Koda (
  15. Niilusoo (
  16. Ohtu Loodusselts (
  17. Päästame Eesti Metsad (Save Estonia’s Forests;
  18. Rannamänniku kaitseks (
  19. Rebala Kultuuriruum
  20. Roheline Kogukond (Estonian Green Community;
  21. Tartu Üliõpilaste Looduskaitsering (

To download this letter as a pdf, click here.










Estonian NGOs call out DG Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson

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