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EU rules destroying Estonia’s forests

EU rules that encourage the use of wood pellets to meet renewable energy targets are driving the destruction and degradation of forests in Estonia, research commissioned by Greenpeace has found

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Wednesday, July 7, 2021

"EU sustainability criteria are not enough to stop destruction of nature in Estonia, the EU’s second- largest exporter of wood pellets."
"EU sustainability criteria are not enough to stop destruction of nature in Estonia, the EU’s second- largest exporter of wood pellets."

N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column

EU rules that encourage the use of wood pellets to meet renewable energy targets are driving the destruction and degradation of forests in Estonia, research commissioned by Greenpeace has found. EU sustainability criteria are not enough to stop destruction of nature in Estonia, the EU’s second- largest exporter of wood pellets.

Taking the logging and degradation of forests into account, the use of wood for heat and power production has an often similar climate impact to the fossil fuels they are intended to replace. EU rules currently allow for the burning of wood for energy to be counted towards renewable energy targets, regardless of whether the wood is from trees cut just for burning or is waste wood from other processes.

The European Commission is currently working on an update of the EU’s controversial biomass sustainability criteria.But leaked drafts show that the Commission is only considering cosmetic changes. The Commission will publish its ‘Fit For 55’ package of updates to EU climate and energy legislation on 14 July.

A Greenpeace campaigner let know, “the EU must stop counting wood straight from the forest towards renewables targets. We can’t fight climate change by chopping down trees to burn them – so renewables rules that encourage this are not fit for purpose. Even the best sustainability criteria in the EU hasn’t kept forest destruction out of energy production.”.

This blunder of the Commission makes me think of those days the EU decreed its no smoking policy and at the same time continued subsidising tobacco growing!

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