green labelAlmost sixty environmental organizations from all over Europe are today taking the European Commission to court. Unlike the Commission, they do not see clearing and controlled heating of forests as contributing to the climate.
“Forests are being destroyed worldwide for wood pellets that are imported to the Netherlands and the EU. By labeling forest combustion for energy as ‘sustainable’, the Commission loses its credibility,” said Fenna Swart of the Clean Air Committee.
Declaring forest burning for energy as ‘sustainable’ loses credibility of the Commission
Last Wednesday, the Commission also attracted a lot of criticism by giving gas and nuclear energy a green stamp. In all three cases, she hopes to free up many tens of billions for these sources, both public money and private investments – with banks and other large investors. In the case of gas and nuclear energy, this will almost certainly lead to complaints before the European court.
The environmental groups have summoned a battery of lawyers to prove their point in Luxembourg. They accuse the Commission of applying far too loose criteria, as a result of which forests – even primary forests – and air quality are not sufficiently protected and there is no ‘substantial limitation’ – as required by law – of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the environmental groups, the Commission does not base itself on science and also ignores its own experts – as with gas and nuclear energy.
Clean Air previously warned that wood extraction through systematic clear-cutting of forests is disastrous for species richness. The environmental groups previously called on Brussels not to use ‘woody’ biomass. They believe that the 17 billion that member states keep aside each year for biomass subsidies should go to really clean sources such as sun and wind.
The legislation on which the Commission relies to designate energy sources as sustainable or not is very strict. It prescribes a scientific approach and there should be no or hardly any harmful side effects. For environmental groups, going to court is a continuation of more than half a year of petitions, studies and protest demonstrations. Last year they published reports indicating that Dutch incentive subsidies, among other things, boosted the demand for wood and led to clear-cutting in Estonia.
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