Europe's green energy policy bad for the environment?
The European Union’s proposals for revising its renewable energy policies are greenwashing and don’t solve the serious flaws, say environmental groups.Liberal environmentalists constitute a danger to the environment. It turns out that what they are doing is worse than burning fossil fuels. It is probably much worse than using natural gas.
The EU gets 65 per cent of its renewable energy from biofuels – mainly wood – but it is failing to ensure this bioenergy comes from sustainable sources, and results in less emissions than burning fossil fuels. Its policies in some cases are leading to deforestation, biodiversity loss and putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than burning coal.
“Burning forest biomass on an industrial scale for power and heating has proved disastrous,” says Linde Zuidema, bioenergy campaigner for forest protection group Fern. “The evidence that its growing use will increase emissions and destroy forests in Europe and elsewhere is overwhelming.”
The assumption is that these emissions don’t have to be counted because the growth of plants soaks up as much CO2as is emitted when they are burned. But this assumption is not true on the timescales that matter for limiting climate change. Burning wood can result in higher emissions than burning coal.
This fact is not controversial. Buried deep in the EU’s own impact assessment is an acknowledgement that burning forest biomass is not carbon neutral, and that using some forms of forest biomass can increase emissions.
“Biogenic emissions remain high (higher than emissions from fossil fuels) beyond a policy-relevant timeframe for sawn wood, stumps, coarse dead wood,” it states on page 106.