For Immediate Release: October 10, 2019
NGOs demand Denmark end subsidies for biomass, impose a levy on biomass, and introduce a phase-out date immediately in letter sent to Danish Climate Minister Dan Jørgensen and members of the Danish Parliament.
An open letter signed by NGOs in the sourcing regions of Danish utility Ørsted’s biomass demand– the United States, Estonia, and Lithuania– and joined by concerned organizations in the United Kingdom and European Union was sent today to address the present use of wood-based bioenergy (referred to as “biomass”) as an energy source in Denmark. Denmark’s renewable energy supply is predominantly met by biomass (nearly 70%) and no country in the EU spends more per capita in bioenergy subsidies than Denmark.
The recent TV2 investigations that aired in September made clear what NGOs and scientists have been reporting for years: the biomass industry’s so-called sustainability standards fail to genuinely protect forests, climate, and communities. Pellet producers like Enviva, the world’s largest producer with facilities across the Southern United States, and Granuul Invest in Estonia have been exposed time and again for sourcing practices that destroy natural forests and threaten biodiversity. The stakes are too high and timeline too narrow to continue to rely on the industry’s tenuous claims of sustainability and climate benefits, which cannot be meaningfully guaranteed.
The international NGOs, representing millions of activists and community members all over the globe, commend Minister Jørgensen’s historic leadership at the European Union level where he made a motion for a resolution questioning the assumption of carbon neutrality for biomass used for energy purposes, and recommend this scrutiny be applied in the Danish context. Danish Climate Minister Jørgensen and members of the Danish Parliament are urged to impose a levy on biomass, phase out the subsidy for burning biomass from wood, and to determine a date for phasing out biomass as soon as possible.