Since 2009, the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED) has allowed Member States to subsidise energy from burning biomass. The aim was to cut emissions, but it didn’t take into account the many disadvantages of bioenergy: Member States have transformed coal power stations to burn woody biomass, cut their own forests for fuel, and even imported trees from the USA and beyond. This is the opposite of what needs to happen to achieve a low-carbon Energy Transition.

Bioenergy in Europe has been disastrous for the climate, forests and people’s health. The EU’s Renewable Energy Directive ignores these fundamental principles: that forests are a natural carbon sink, that wood is a limited resource, and that wood is a source of carbon dioxide when burnt. Many scientists who conducted research on bioenergy have warned that increasing the combustion of wood is not compatible with the emergency posed by our climate breakdown: we only have a decade left to drastically limit our CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the EU’s reliance on forest biomass for renewable energy is incompatible with its goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

What do Fern and our partners want? 

To achieve socially and environmentally friendly EU climate and energy policies, the EU must stop subsidising the burning of forest biomass and exclude such bioenergy from counting towards renewable energy targets.

What are we doing? 

Fern is helping coordinate the individuals and organisations from around the world campaigning to prevent increasing reliance on forest biomass for energy.

Who’s involved?

In Europe we’re working with our partners the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Estonian Fund for Nature, and in the United States, with Dogwood Alliance and Partnership for Policy Integrity.

Scientists, academics, NGOs, economists and health experts all agree that burning of trees for power can be worse for the climate than burning coal, expensive and harmful to human health.

Does burning trees for energy harm the environment?

These fact sheets explain how bioenergy reduces biodiversity.

Why bioenergy is not a solution 

How bioenergy harms biodiversity

NGO position paper

"To be compatible with the European Green Deal ambitions, the RED must stop allowing public subsidies for forest biomass, stop allowing Member States to count it towards renewable energy targets, and phase out crop-based biofuels."

Read more

You are currently offline. Some pages or content may fail to load.