Logging for Biomass Energy Blasted by 120 Civil Society and Scientific Organizations from 30 Countries

International statement calls for an end to monetary and policy support for biomass energy from logging forests

A large international group of civil society and scientific organisations representing hundreds of thousands of people around the world has released a statement expressing concern over the use of forest biomass for energy. The groups say that biomass energy from forests is a societal delusion that makes climate change worse. The collective has increased their commitment to working for real climate solutions that protect and restore forests.

The statement says, “We, the undersigned organisations believe that we must move beyond burning forest biomass to effectively address climate change. We call on governments, financiers, companies and civil society to avoid expansion of the forest biomass based energy industry and move away from its use. Subsidies for forest biomass energy must be eliminated. Protecting and restoring the world’s forests is a climate change solution, burning them is not.”

Forests are vital for mitigating the worst impacts of climate change and should not be destroyed for electricity production. The document’s global release happened as the North American Wood Products Industry celebrated #BioenergyDay which is promoting the further expansion of this false solution to climate change.

A key highlight of the report was the importance of protecting and restoring forests alongside rapid reductions in fossil CO2 emissions if we are to keep temperature increases within limits that could prevent catastrophic climate change.

In summary, the statement conveys the organisation’s conclusions and agreement that expansion of the forest biomass industry is misguided due to four key issues:

  • It harms the climate as burning forest biomass is not low carbon and is encouraged by flawed emissions accounting.
  • It harms the forest biodiversity and climate resilience and undermines natural forest climate mitigation.
  • It harms people as these industries undermine community rights and interests, and biomass burning harms human health and well-being.
  • It harms the clean energy transition as it pulls investments away from other truly clean renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

“Forest biomass energy is a lose, lose proposition that has prompted this strong statement of concern from such a multitude of groups. We appeal to policy makers, financiers, the markets and consumers to abandon support for large scale energy production from the forests,” said Peg Putt, Forests and Climate Coordinator for the Environmental Paper Network, which has been the organiser of a year-long global dialogue with NGOs leading to the development of this joint statement.

Log decks at North Fork mill site Biomass Plant.
Log decks at North Fork mill site Biomass Plant.

The signatory organisations include Greenpeace International, NRDC, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Dogwood Alliance, and Wild Nature Institute in the US, Friends of the Earth in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Federation of Community Forest Users in Nepal, and Friends of the Siberian Forests in Russia, who all agree the evidence is clear that burning forest wood for large-scale energy production cannot be part of a sustainable future. Instead we must protect and restore natural forests to reduce emissions and to remove carbon from

the atmosphere while supporting biodiversity, resilience and well-being.

Full statement and complete list of signatories: http://environmentalpaper.org/the-biomass-delusion/

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