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EU Slammed for Renewables Decision

14 Sep 17:00 by Steve Walia

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Leading scientists have criticised the European Union's decision to include wood as a key renewables source for member states.

The climate change specialists say that the plan is likely to result in an increase in damaging carbon emissions as well as the destruction of some of the oldest forest areas in the world.

However, despite the advice of hundreds of consulted environmental scientists, European officials decided to forge ahead with their plans to include wood as a low-carbon fuel source, meaning that woodlands can now be decimated in order to provide fuel to burn.

This step would mean that Europe's use of renewables would double by 2030, which is the rationale behind the move. Additionally, the Union-wide plan will see new trees planted to replace those which have been felled.

Scientists against the plan say that burning wood will release additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Additionally, new trees need a number of years to grow big enough to offset this released amount and absorb an equivalent volume.

Estimations from those against the plan suggest that greenhouse gas emissions may well actually rise by as much as 10pc if wood burning becomes a core fuel choice. There is an additional fear that other nations may follow suit and adopt similar policies. Already, Indonesia and Brazil have said that they will burn more wood to tackle climate change.

However, EU policymakers have pointed out that EU forests have grown by 32pc in the past 25 years, even though the adoption of bio-energy has grown by 100pc in the past 18 years. This has been facilitated by improved and sustainable forestry practices supported by programmes of reforestation. 

There is a question, however, about why the EU is focusing on wood-burning when technologies for less controversial renewable energy forms exist.