FERN’s aim is to achieve EU energy policies that enable the EU to meet its rural development objectives, biodiversity targets and climate objectives.
FERN’s analysis: Whilst the need to reduce our use of and dependence on fossil fuels is clear, we must be careful that we don’t come up with a solution that causes more of a problem. Biomass has always been an important source of energy, but whether it is a 'renewable' energy source, depends on how it is produced. The EU's current energy policies will give biomass production for energy purposes a significant boost. The danger is that this will not contribute to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but will lead to many negative environmental and social impacts. FERN believes that the utmost effort should be put into reducing energy consumption, and while biomass can play a part of the future energy mix, it should only be considered under certain conditions.
What FERN is doing: FERN is looking at the extent to which using biomass for heat and power can be a sustainable solution. Important questions that need to be asked include: How to use scarce resources efficiently; How to limit the negative impact of biomass production on the environment and local communities; and how to ensure that biomass is effectively leading to a decrease of greenhouse gas emissions?
To learn more about this campaign: the best documents to read are "Biomass Report shows increasing lack of policy coherence on forest protection", "Increased use of biomass: recommendations for ensuring it is environmentally responsible and socially just", "Volunteering for disaster: why biomass criteria must be ambitious and legally binding" and "Woody Biomass for Energy: NGO Concerns and Recommendations".