EU Bioenergy Policy Fails but Sparks Global Movement for Forest Protection

On January 17th, the European Union Parliament voted on the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) which will guide policy for reductions in carbon emissions and investments in renewable energy from 2020 onward. For those of you who’ve taken action or followed our efforts and those of our partners, you know that the outcome of this vote is a critical moment in the ongoing effort to ensure protection of Southern forests and communities from the dangers of industrial scale bioenergy (the burning of wood for energy).

Since 2010, the growth of bioenergy– much of it sourced from Southern US forests– has provided more than half the expansion of “renewable energy” in the EU.

The alarming growth of this dirty industry is devastating for our forests, communities, and climate.

At the same time, with your support, its emergence has sparked organizations like Dogwood Alliance to lead a global movement to end this destruction and recognize real forest protection as a solution to the climate crisis.

Forest Defenders in Savannah, GA sending an SOS Save Our Southern Forests message to Europe.

Together we called for a policy that hit the brakes on the industry and increased protection for our forests.

Instead of listening to the protests of folks like you, the EU Parliament was taken in by influential pro-logging lobbies from Finland and Sweden. They didn’t listen to the overwhelming outcry from climate champions in the European parliament, affected communities from across the world, leading conservation organizations, hundreds of thousands of individuals, and a remarkable letter from over 800 scientists (including IPCC lead authors and winners of the US medal of science and Nobel prize).

The good news is that the new EU RED policy is only a directive to EU countries like Germany, Denmark, and The Netherlands. Now it’s up to these countries, and us, to take this policy and improve it.

Dogwood Alliance and our global network of allies are ready to stand for our forests and communities every step of the way.

In fact, together we’ve already achieved some huge victories: Belgium was once a huge expansion market for biomass, but now that honeymoon is over!

Dogwood Alliance staff members Rita Frost and Adam Colette coming out of a meeting with top officials in Belgium concerning their biomass policy.

The fact is, there’s a bigger battle here.

The future EU energy system, and even more, the future world energy system, needs to be based on truly renewable technologies such as wind, solar, heat and electricity storage, demand response, geothermal and other emerging technologies. While we must completely revolutionize our energy system, the only way to fully reverse climate change is to massively scale up the protection and restoration of our forests.

The Paris Climate Agreement gave the world a charge: we must turn the tide of climate change before it’s too late. Our best and most cost-effective technology lies in the power of forests.

Forests are our lifeline and our connection to the natural world.

Standing forests are critical for community resilience, flood protection, air and water quality, our health and well-being. Forests are the only proven system that can remove and store vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere to keep Earth a livable planet.

Forest defenders, climate hawks, and community leaders will not let biomass threaten the future of our very existence because short-term fiction peddlers got their way in this vote. We will respond to this reckless EU decision by showing up with even more people power across Europe as we fight to stop these facilities in our own backyard.

Together we can protect forests from the ground up.

Join us.


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