BIG VICTORY for Southern Forests

Just yesterday, the Dutch government came together to reject future subsidies for biomass.

This is a big win for Southern forests and communities.

This is nothing short of historic in the Netherlands. It sets an important precedent that will send shockwaves through the biomass industry.

southern forests

In the Netherlands, public and political debate over biomass has been simmering for almost a decade. This quick turn in political events shows that it has boiled over.

Since 2013, the Netherlands has imported vast amounts of wood from Southern US forests to burn in coal-fired power stations.

But, as we know, biomass and “sustainable” are oxymorons, and the Dutch public has been calling out the industry’s false claims.

Politicians have ignored public outcry. In 2019, the Dutch government reserved an additional 11.4 billion euros to subsidize biomass. All this fueled the public outcry that has been growing.

Southern forests trees as smokestacks
Dutch political cartoon lampooning biomass

In 2020, 98% of Dutch citizens polled favored ending subsidies for biomass.

Dutch activists and campaigners pushed their government to choose better sources of renewable energy and to leave our Southern forests alone.

A couple of years ago, insiders, experts, and even other NGO allies wrote us off. They claimed the Netherlands needed biomass in their clean energy plans to achieve their climate commitments. Together, Southerners, Dutch activists, and everyday people pushed back. We reminded the world that this was all industry greenwashing. We know that we can dispel greenwashing through organizing and dogged determination.

This win today is just the beginning. This fight has inspired resistance to subsidizing biomass altogether.

Everywhere you look, people are:

  • challenging wood pellet production facilities
  • fighting back against biomass subsidies as a false form of renewable energy
  • uniting for healthy, natural forests

Enviva is the largest wood pellet manufacturer in the world and a major supplier to the Netherlands. The pressure is on for Enviva and the house-of-cards economy they built through forest destruction and community degradation.

southern forests clearcut

If this victory shows us anything, it’s that the false solution of biomass will not last much longer.

This decision affirms the power of our social movement to create positive change. This movement continually brings us toward a safe, just, and thriving world. We must build on this victory. If it’s wrong to grant subsidies for future projects without a phaseout plan, then it’s wrong for any biomass subsidies. Period.

The powerful coalition of people and organizations in the Southern US and Netherlands are better positioned than ever before. Together we can make real renewable energy a top priority for the Netherlands government. Then we can all achieve meaningful progress on climate targets. We won’t rest until incentives shift away from dirty biomass and instead support standing forests and truly clean renewable energy.

Join the movement. Take the Stand4Forests Pledge!

8 Responses to “BIG VICTORY for Southern Forests”

  1. Colin Tinker

    This is excellent news. Thank you Rita for your article. Let’s hope the UK gets sorted next with the DRAX power station and the huge amount of trees it destroys at taxpayers expense.

  2. I’m so glad to hear this. While we are enjoying the tasty results from cooking with a pellet smoker we bought in the spring, my husband Jeff and I are actually regretting its purchase after learning the true cost to our forests.

    Surprisingly, (I’m usually the environmental activist in the family), my husband actually researched their origin, and was shocked to learn the origin of wood pellets. Before we bought this smoker, we had no idea that the pellets were coming from raw, growing trees, but instead thought they were formed by fusing tree fragments and sawdust that is a by-waste of all lumber production and in incredible supply I’m sure. How ridiculous that we are cutting down pristine, whole trees to pulverize them into pellets, especially when there is so much lumber by-waste being destroyed or not used!!!! >:(

    There’s got to be another way!!!! 🙁

    My only other question is: When are (and how) can we ban production and subsidies of biomass in the United States, where so many of these pellets originate from???? And the world!!!!

  3. Jim Merchant

    This is very good news. My wife is Dutch and we visit Holland frequently. We have followed the wood pellet issue and are proud of the Dutch activists that have fought hard to protect our forests and the environment.

  4. Matthew Boguske

    Thank you for working toward this success! As an environmental writer, I’ve worked in Virginia against biomass burning and hope to build on your success. Again, many thanks!

  5. Thank you for working toward this success! As an environmental writer, I’ve worked in Virginia against biomass burning and hope to build on your success. Again, many thanks!


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