NGOs and scientists are calling on MEPs to kick forest biomass out of RED:
Our climate, forests and health are at stake!

On September 14, the European Parliament will decide whether logging and burning forest biomass will continue to be classified as providing “renewable” energy in the EU.

MEPs must vote to take forest biomass out of the Renewable Energy Directive. Continuing to count burning trees and other forest biomass (“primary woody biomass”) as renewable energy puts the goals of the Green Deal and the “Fit for 55” initiative decisively at risk. See a comprehensive backgrounder here, but in brief, burning burning forest biomass for energy means

increased CO2 emissions compared to fossil fuels, threatening our climate, and continued loss of the forest carbon sink, as has occurred in Finland and Estonia

– further degradation of forests. The EC’s Joint Research Centre has shown that the majority of biomass harvesting is harming ecosystem function and biodiversity.

– a threat to our health. Burning wood is the largest source of the particulate matter that kills more than 1,000 people per day in the EU, yet the EU subsidizes it as clean energy

– the waste of billions of taxpayers’ money through subsidies to the biomass industry – around €17 billion per year, plus billions more via exclusion from the ETS.

MEPs should adopt the following reforms to RED III:

  • Stop counting energy from ‘primary woody biomass’ as renewable and contributing to Member States’ national targets, and end € billions spent on national subsidy schemes for its use. (Article 29 paras 1 and 6).
  • Reject loopholes in the definition of ‘primary woody biomass’ by deleting exemptions for forests affected by fires, disease, and pests, or by natural disasters.
  • End subsidies for all electricity-only power plants that burn wood, including secondary woody biomass.
  • Ensure EU-wide application of the cascading principle, a hierarchy of wood use that prioritises use of long-lived material products over burning.

We need to grow forests, not log them for pellets.

With campaign motifs in Brussels and this box, we remind policymakers that cutting down forests to generate energy and heat is neither a solution to the climate crisis nor does it ensure energy security. Once forest wood, but destined for the atmosphere, the pellets in the box represent an industry that clears entire forests for fuel. The biomass and wood pellet industry employ false and misleading arguments claiming burning trees is “clean and green” because they want to continue collecting billions in citizen-funded subsidies – even as burning biomass worsens climate change and destroys forests.

You have questions about Forest Defenders Alliance or our campaign? Please contact us here.

Related videos

“PlusMinus” on wood pellets, subtitled

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Short must-watch on the reality of pellets

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Peter Wohlleben’s short message to MEPs

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Backgrounder: Climate, forest, air quality and financial impacts of burning forest biomass
Press Release: EU threatens to torpedo its own climate policy
Press Release: The EU’s use of biomass is undermining nature restoration goals
Infographic: Biomass facts
Letter: from health organizations, asking to take all wood-burning out of the Renewable Energy Directive
Briefing: 2-pager for MEPs
Debunker: laying bare the biomass industry’s misleading claims