Tackling the climate crisis requires sustainable, just solutions. Burning wood that comes directly from the forest (primary forest biomass) releases vast emissions. Yet the industry has boomed in the last decade, leading scientists, NGOs and civil society to raise concerns.
The current Renewable Energy Directive is financially rewarding types of bioenergy that actively increase emissions compared to fossil fuels over the timeframe we still have to limit the climate crisis - the next 30 years. Even the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre found, in its latest report on the issue, that most forest biomass (primary wood that is taken out of the forest) being burnt in the EU is harmful to the climate, to biodiversity, or both.
All the while, the climate crisis intensifies, as more carbon dioxide is emitted.
Less and less carbon is stored in Europe's forests due to harvesting. Action to protect and restore forests in the EU could double the amount of carbon dioxide they absorb and contribute to halting biodiversity decline. If protected and restored instead of logged and burned, natural forests can fulfil their role as the world’s most efficient carbon sinks. This factsheet explains the climate impacts of burning forest biomass, and why burning forest biomass is not a climate solution.
Briefing notes in this series: