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.
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.
The new transitional government of the Central African Republic is in the process of drafting a new constitution, and, for the first time, many forest communities have been consulted about their country’s future. The Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the CAR and the EU is one of the tools that has been used by civil society actors to make their voices heard.
The long-awaited European Court of Auditors report on the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) contains “welcome recommendations” but “omits key information”, says Saskia Ozinga, Campaigns Co-ordinator at social and environmental NGO Fern.
Illegal logging is believed to account for between 15% and 30% of the international trade in timber, with revenues running into billions of dollars each year. This has prompted the EU, the World Bank and others to call for more effective use of anti-money laundering procedures as a way of tackling the illicit financial flows that support illegal logging. This report looks at whether action on money laundering could be a worthwhile lever to help preserve the world’s forests.