Euractiv reports that on 29 March the European Parliament in Brussels was asked to reconsider whether biomass fuels should continue to be included in the European Union target for using at least 20% renewable energy by 2020. This is because, in the rush to meet the target, large amounts of forest are being cut down. It will take between 30-70 years for the trees to grow to maturity and absorb the carbon emissions from the burnt timber. So in the meantime, carbon emissions will increase by large amounts, and make climate change worse.
Cutting down trees for biomass also stops the timber being used for things like buildings, keeping carbon out of the atmosphere.
The Euractiv report notes that “industrial interests tend to support criteria that ignore combustion emissions and carbon stock losses from burning wood…Several EU officials spoken to by EurActiv expressed despair at the lack of enthusiasm for tougher accounting rules by the EU’s energy directorate, which holds the biomass portfolio.”