The first EU wide sustainability criteria for forest biomass must reach the market

(EurActiv, 8 Mar 2019) In June 2018, the European Commission, Parliament and Council reached a deal cementing Europe’s position as a world leader in the fight against climate change for the next decade, write Jean-Marc Jossart and Seth Ginther.

Jean-Marc Jossart is the secretary general at Bioenergy Europe. Seth Ginther is the executive director at U.S. Industrial Pellet Association.

This hard-won achievement, the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II), is now under threat by a last-ditch effort to cripple the legislation even before it’s implemented. This is an unfortunate development at a time when the EU is poised to advance its most ambitious climate goals ever.

As a central legislative tool, RED II establishes an overall policy for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources in the EU. It was adopted after years of stakeholder consultations, scientific debates and evidence collection. All opinions and objections were taken into account during this necessary and exhaustive process.

After intensive Member State negotiations, a democratic agreement was ultimately hammered out based on the strongest arguments and most credible scientific data. It produced one of the most stringent set of sustainability criteria for solid biomass ever promulgated by any political institution.

While wind and solar have made tremendous contributions towards carbon reduction and emissions goals under RED I, sustainable biomass has led the way as the EU’s leading renewable energy source, representing more than 60% of the bloc’s renewable energy use. It is poised to do the same under RED II.

The new directive successfully established the first European-wide sustainability criteria for solid biomass which ensures that biomass is produced sustainably, irrespective of its geographical origin.

Concretely, this means that bioenergy producers must prove that they use biomass from sustainably managed forests, maintaining a carbon sink and achieving significant levels of greenhouse gas emissions savings as compared to fossil fuels.

External link

EurActiv, 8 Mar 2019: The first EU wide sustainability criteria for forest biomass must reach the market