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Bioenergy sustainability: parliament engages in tug-of-war over competence

The Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) is presently being updated under the competence of the European Parliaments’ Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE). In recognition of the fact that use of biomass for energy can have a high environmental impact, the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) was given exclusive competence on some elements regarding bioenergy sustainability criteria.

However Swedish MEP Fredrick Federley challenged the decision and RED II rapporteur MEP Jose Blanco Lopez backed his request. Things got more complicated when agriculture and transport committees also asked for competence on some bioenergy articles. If the issue of competence remains unresolved, it might delay the adoption of the new RED II.

Fern believes that it is essential for the Parliament to ensure a process that promotes environmental integrity and actions to ensure bioenergy’s sustainability.

All committees need to recognise the limits of bioenergy. Now is the time to fix the RED II so that it has a chance of achieving its aims such as benefiting the environment and improving citizens wellbeing. The current Commission proposal will not avoid the negative climate impacts of forest bioenergy, to significantly reduce emissions, the Parliament needs to include additional criteria and safeguards against biodiversity loss.

See Ferns’ key recommendations for how RED II needs to be amended.