The European Parliament's Environment Committee this evening voted in favour of continued subsidies to burning trees and stumps for energy, in a defeat for science, the climate and forests - and the EU's reputation on climate change.
"The biomass industry's spin doctors can pop the champagne this evening. MEPs have decided that the best way to tackle climate change is to burn more trees. If they are not prepared to defend the environment and the climate against corporate interests, or to listen to what virtually the entire scientific establishment is telling them, then it's not clear why they sit in the 'Environment' committee," commented Alex Mason, Senior Renewable Energy Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office.
"The only hope now is that the Parliament as a whole overrides this dangerous result when they vote in plenary next year," Mason added. "Either way this issue isn't going away because the science is very clear. It's just a question of how much more forest is burnt before the EU does a u-turn".
Harvesting tree trunks and stumps for energy and burning them at industrial scale is completely counterproductive as a way of tackling climate change, but has been growing rapidly since the EU first introduced its Renewable Energy Directive in 2009. Environmental NGOs in the EU and around the world have been fighting for years to get the EU to change course, and today's result shows they still face an uphill battle.
Senior Policy Officer, Renewable Energy
WWF European Policy Office,
+32 2 743 88 05
Senior Communications Officer
WWF European Policy Office
+32 473 573 317