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Bioenergy: Presentations

Presentations from event "How sustainable is Scandinavian biomass?"

By 2020, bioenergy will account for more than 10 per cent of total energy consumption in the EU. Scandinavian forests will be a significant source of biomass for energy, but intensified harvesting could substantially harm biodiversity and impact on the climate.

On 30 January, Satu Hassi MEP (Greens/EFA), EEB, BirdLife Europe, ClientEarth and FERN organised an event in the European Parliament on sustainability of Scandinavian biomass.

The event included presentations from Professor Bengt Gunnar Jonsson (Mid Sweden University), Jonas Rudberg (Swedish Society for Nature Conservation) and Anna Repo (Finnish Environment Institute).

Panellists were Olof Johansson (Sveaskog), Hans Van Steen (European Commission, DG Energy), Petteri Kuuva (Ministry of Employment and Economy, Finland), Sini Eräjää (Finnish Association for Nature Conservation) and Ariel Brunner (BirdLife Europe)


Further information:

NGO briefing on biomass

Report from FANC “Felling the golden goose. The sustainable limits of Finland’s biomass ambitions”

Report from SSNC “Credibility at stake”

Presentations from event "Carbon emissions from bioenergy - how it impacts our climate"

Bioenergy will account for over 10 per cent of total energy consumption in the EU by 2020.

On 29 March, Linda McAvan MEP (S&D), Fiona Hall MEP (ALDE), Bas Eickhout MEP (Greens/EFA), BirdLife, FERN and the European Environmental Bureau organised an event in the European Parliament which discussed sustainability issues linked to biomass for energy and the impact on the climate, for 2020 and beyond.

The event included presentations from Neil Bird (Joanneum Research), David Carr (Southern Environmental Law Center, US) and Detlef Sprinz (Chairman Scientific Committee, European Environment Agency).

Further information:

  • NGO briefing on biomass
  • Opinion of the EEA Scientific Committee on Greenhouse Gas Accounting in Relation to Bioenergy
  • Study from the Biomass Energy Resource Center, the Forest Guild and the Spatial Informatics Group on "Biomass Supply and Carbon Accounting for Southeastern Forests"
  • Searchinger et al., Fixing a critical carbon accounting error; (Science, October 2009)
  • Haberl et al., Correcting a fundamental error in greenhouse gas accounting related to bioenergy; (Energy policy, February 2012)


  • BirdLife, EEB and FERN media release
  • Euractiv article "Biomass 'insanity' may threaten EU carbon targets" – published 2 April 2012

Presentations from "Biomass and resource efficiency: The need for a supply-led approach to forest productivity"

“Measures are needed to ensure use of forest products is not guided by unregulated demand, but by what forests can sustainably supply,” this was one of the conclusions of the "Biomass and Resource Efficiency" event attended by more than 70 people at the European Parliament. It was organised by FERN, ClientEarth, the Greens and Grupo PPE.

The three attached presentations come from Marcus Lindner, looking at European Forests and the EUWood study, Sten Nilsson looking at the global situation and Joost Van de Velde, looking at wider global trends.

Bas Eickhout MEP, concluded the event by stating that "Sustainability criteria for bioenergy are crucialThat does not mean we should support low and unambitious criteria.  If the criteria turn out to be very weakwe have to vote against and demand a stronger proposal. I therefore urge the Commission to put a proposal on the table that properly addresses the carbon debt of biomass."


FERN meeting on Bioenergy - 19 and 20 November 2008

  • The potential role of biomass in the EU (Veerle Dossche - FERN)
  • Wood as energetic biomass - threats and opportunities (Zdenek Postulka - Hnuti Duha)
  • Cooling the planet with biomass (Deepak Rughani - Biofuelwatch)
  • Overview of Forestry Measures in Rural Development (Joost Vandevelde - DG Environment)
  • Bioenergy in Cohesion Policy (Beth Masterson & Mathieu Fichter - DG Regio)

Most recent publications

Press Release: New report shows how biomass burning devastates forests

Europe’s once peaceful forests are being invaded in the name of green energy, according to a new report for the forest NGO Fern by acclaimed writer Fred Pearce.
Download the Press Release48.5 KB

Up In Flames: How biomass burning wrecks Europe’s forests

This new report by Fred Pearce for Fern shows that Europe’s forests are being invaded in the name of green energy. The report focuses on a number of forests in Europe and the US, that are under threat by this push for bioenergy, which is being fuelled by huge subsidies from the EU and its Member States.

Up in Flames - How biomass burning wrecks Europe’s forests, reveals how forests across Europe are being pillaged and their wood used for energy because of EU policies for promoting renewable electricity and heating with the aim to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Almost half of wood harvested in the EU is now used for energy, while 60 per cent of the renewable energy is generated by biomass burning for electricity and heating. It supplies about five per cent of EU energy needs. Industry investors say that if the EU’s 2020 renewable energy targets are to be met, Europe will need between seven and 16 million hectares of energy crops.

Up in Flames2.79 MB

Bioenergy briefing note 1: the limited availability of wood for energy

This is the first of a series of briefings Fern is producing on bioenergy. This briefing shows how little forest biomass is available, and proposes an EU strategy for a more efficient use of the scarce wood resource.

EU sends mixed messages on forests

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution to the EU Forest Strategy which emphasises the role of forests for Europe’s future energy mix. Fern believes promoting wood biomass for energy will have a serious impact on European forests, which are already under pressure due to growing demand for biomass, and on forests in other regions that feed the EU’s subsidised hunger for wood pellets.

Pitfalls and potentials: the role of bioenergy in the EU climate and energy policy post 2020

This position paper from Fern and 10 other NGOs argues that the EU should limit bioenergy use in achieving the 2030 renewable energy target, and should introduce safeguards to avoid negative impacts on the environment, people and the climate.

Burning Matter: Making Bioenergy Policy Work for People and Forests

This report outlines the manner in which EU bioenergy policy drives deforestation, undermining the EU’s target of halting deforestation by 2030. It details the EU’s biofuels and biomass policies separately, including the history of their implementation; the fiction that biomass is a carbon-neutral energy source; the unintended social and environmental consequences of the policies; and their costs to the EU, Member States and producer countries.

Burning Matter.pdf2.69 MB