In a letter to world leaders, over 650 experts appealed with them to cease the burning of trees for energy because it destroys wildlife habitats and breaches international biodiversity and climate change agreements.
According to the 2022 edition of The State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) report, the world has lost 420 million hectares, or around 10.34% of its total forest area, over the past three decades.
In a letter published by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and addressed to world leaders including Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak, and the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, the Deputy Director, Global Biodiversity Conservation, Nature Program, Elly Pepper, bemoaned that governments and the bioenergy industry each have one hand on an axe that is destroying the world’s forests, adding that continuing to put a fake renewable like biomass energy at the forefront of the energy debate
In the lead-up to Cop15, the UN biodiversity summit, they stated that countries must immediately stop using forest bioenergy to generate heat and electricity because it undermines international climate and nature goals. Instead, they advocated the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
As a result of its erroneous classification as carbon neutral, a growing number of governments are counting on forest biomass to meet their net-zero goals. At a time when we need trees on our world the most, this is harming them. Contrary to what the logging industry claims, the letter asserted that many of the wood pellets used at power plants for bioenergy come from whole trees rather than logging waste and residue.
Bioenergy is predicted to account for one-third of all low-carbon energy by 2030, according to an estimate by the International Energy Agency, as reported by The Guardian.
Changing our energy system is necessary, but we cannot do so at the price of the environment. Energy security is an important societal concern, but the solution is not to burn our gorgeous forests. According to Professor Alexander Antonelli, Director of Science at Kew Gardens and one of the letter’s key authors, describing this energy as “green” is misleading and could exacerbate the global biodiversity crisis, as highlighted by Carbon Pulse. As science is advancing is our nature at risk?
According to The Guardian, during the past 10 years, $6.81 billion in subsidies have been paid to assist the burning of biomass as part of the United Kingdom’s net-zero aim.
This amount of logging is alarmingly high. In 2019, 5,7 million metric tonnes of wood pellets were exported from the United States to the United Kingdom, forcing the destruction of an area larger than the United Kingdom’s New Forest.
When trees are cut down for bioenergy, carbon that was previously stored in forests is released into the sky.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently highlighted the crucial role that forests play in keeping their stored carbon out of the atmosphere, in addition to its effects on wildlife. According to the experts’ letter, harvesting for bioenergy substantially impairs forests’ capacity to store and sequester carbon.
According to The Guardian, burning wood emits more carbon dioxide into the sky than burning gas or even coal. Additionally, the gathering and delivery of the wood require more energy.