Brussels, 17/09/2020 – Bioenergy Europe welcomes the increased ambition in the European Commission’s Communication on 2030 Climate Target Plan and the commitment to equip the transition with the correct tools to achieve it. Regrettably, the non-technical wording describing sustainable bioenergy’s contribution provides a misleading image of the sector.  

Achieving a, at least, 55% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 would adjust the trajectory for the EU to become carbon neutral by 2050.  This represents a strong signal for the EU economy and society at large.

The 2030 Climate Target Plan acknowledges that large scale deployment of renewables will be paramount in achieving higher climate ambition and to promote the Union’s industrial leadership on clean technologies. The bioenergy sector is predominantly based in Europe with 50000 business units, generating 39% of the turnover of all RES industries and employing indirectly more than 700000 workers (49% of all RES employment in the EU). 

The European Commission’s commitment to extend carbon pricing to sectors which at the moment are not covered by EU ETS, represents a step forward and will certainly increase the competitiveness of renewables, facilitating their penetration in the transport and building sectors.

However, Bioenergy Europe would like to express its concerns regarding the Commission’s views on the limited projected increase in bioenergy by 2030.  While bioenergy is by far the largest RES contributor - and key enabler of carbon neutrality - it is ultimately Member States’ competence to indicate the need for bioenergy in their mix.

While we believe that the future of the bioenergy sector is intrinsically linked to the sustainability of the biomass feedstock, current misunderstanding of forest role in mitigating climate change could produce poorly designed policy instruments. To maintain the forest carbon sink, increase carbon stock and deliver on GHG savings, forests have to be sustainably and actively managed. In the long run, leaving forests untouched would be counterproductive for Europe.

In these regards the term ‘whole trees’, already misused in the biodiversity strategy, remains troubling. ‘Whole tree’ is an arbitrary designation that does not relate to a particular forest product or grade of wood, rather it appeals to emotions. Selling wood for energy is not driving forest management but improves the economic viability of low value wood.

Statement by Bioenergy Europe Secretary-General, Jean-Marc Jossart: ‘’We receive a mixed message from the European Commission. It is mandatory for Europe to take serious measures to step up the penetration of renewables in the EU’s energy system and send a clear signal regarding the immediate phasing out of fossil fuel. However, drafting of such an overarching strategy requires rigour. Using oversimplified terms that appeal to people’s emotions and disregard concrete evidence dangerously distort the debate.’

  • 2030 Climate Target Plan: Comments from the bioenergy sector
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