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‘Green’ subsidies for bioenergy could increase carbon emissions

15 July 2015

In shaping its renewable energy policy, the EU had considered wood to be a renewable energy source. However, science increasingly shows that burning wood may increase carbon emissions and that re-growth of trees does not compensate for the emissions.

A recent study by NRDC examines the use of wood pellets from the South East United States, the largest global source of pellets for use in Europe’s electricity plants. The study reveals that wood pellets made from whole trees in the South East US will emit more carbon, compared to fossil fuels, for a period of 55 years. This finding is key, as addressing climate change requires immediate short-term reductions in emissions.

EU renewable energy policy is the main driver of the rapid development of the global wood pellet market. Almost 80 per cent – more than 18 million tonnes – of the global wood pellet market is consumed in the EU. Almost 6 million tonnes (one-third) are consumed in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands, mainly for the production of electricity. Ninety-two per cent of wood pellets exported from the South East US go to these three countries.

It shouldn’t need saying: EU ‘renewables’ policy must be rectified to prevent the EU from worsening climate change by burning trees.

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