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Commission's biodiversity strategy welcome but "jargon" used regrettable – Bioenergy Europe

As the European Commission adopts the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, Bioenergy Europe praises the Commission’s efforts to propose "bold measures" and welcomes that bioenergy is acknowledged as a win-win solution for energy but "regrets the jargon" used.
"Any strategy aimed at preserving biodiversity should be fully embraced but must be coherent with the reality on the ground and misleading jargon must be avoided at all cost," said Jean-Marc Jossart, Bioenergy Europe Secretary-General.

A biodiverse mixed agricultural and forest landscape in central Sweden is a cultural landscape shaped by centuries of human activity into what it is today, a mosaic of fields, wetlands with remnants of ancient forest and rolling hills with mixed hardwood and softwood working forests.

A biodiverse mixed agricultural and forest landscape in central Sweden is a cultural landscape shaped by centuries of human activity into what it is today, a mosaic of fields, wetlands with remnants of ancient forest and rolling hills with mixed hardwood and softwood working forests.

In a statement Bioenergy Europe praises the European Commission’s efforts to propose “bold measures to fight climate change and biodiversity loss” and welcomes that bioenergy is acknowledged as a win-win solution for energy generation.

This reinforces the commitment made by our industry to be a key actor in the energy transition of the EU, the statement read.

According to Bioenergy Europe, sustainable bioenergy indeed represents a win-win solution: it is a readily available source of energy and green growth. Bioenergy represents the largest renewable energy source in the EU accounting for almost 60 percent of renewable energy consumption and offers an undeniable positive effect on the environment with 7 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) saved in 2017.

These positive environmental benefits are complemented by major socio-economic advantages at the local level allowing income diversification for the whole supply chain such as biomass suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and appliance installers. It also enables investments to develop innovation, improve sustainability performance, and adopt environment-friendly practices.

Misleading jargon

However, Bioenergy Europe says that it “regrets the jargon” used with regards to the transformative approach for the bioenergy sector as foreseen in the strategy. The reference to minimization of certain feedstock category use and to whole trees will have the adverse effect of complicating the already stringent compliance criteria for bioenergy feedstocks.

The wood market prices guarantee an efficient allocation of forest resources: the bioenergy sector purchases what is left by other sectors, including low-value and otherwise unmarketable thinnings (whole trees).  High-quality wood, being unaffordable for the bioenergy sector, is used for high-value products such as buildings and furniture.

With the REDII directive entering into force in 2021, the bioenergy industry will have to comply with unique sustainability criteria. These criteria already include a reference to wood harvesting practices in line with biodiversity protection. Our industry relies on this key milestone to fully deliver on its commitment to contribute toward a carbon neutrality economy by 2050.

We are once more facing a far-reaching plan that will certainly help the EU leading the fight against climate change. However, more attention should be given to the actual efforts made in the last years by the whole bioenergy value chain. Any strategy aimed at preserving biodiversity should be fully embraced but must be coherent with the reality on the ground and misleading jargon must be avoided at all cost, said Jean-Marc Jossart, Bioenergy Europe Secretary-General.

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