EEA highlights challenge of “competing demands” for biomass

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The European Environment Agency (EEA) has released a new report that looks at how biomass can help the European Union (EU) achieve its climate and environmental goals, and how climate change might affect the EU's biomass production in agriculture and forest sectors.
The report, entitled The European Biomass Puzzle - Challenges, opportunities and trade-offs around biomass production and use in the EU, also discusses key synergies and trade-offs in the use of biomass for different policy objectives.
The key challenge highlighted by the EEA report is that EU policy objectives have competing demands for European biomass that comes from agriculture and forestry, while its supply remains limited by land area, vegetation growth, changing climate and global trade.
The EEA report stresses that there is an urgent need to make decisions on biomass management in Europe to meet environment and climate goals by 2030 and 2050.
Decisions are needed to reverse the negative trends in the health of ecosystems, as well to increase carbon sinks to meet climate objectives, it said.
To achieve results by 2030 and 2050, policy interventions on land management, especially those affecting forests and agriculture, are needed already now.
Immediate policy responses raised by the EEA report include specifying how nature protection and carbon sequestration can be combined with biomass production, ensuring that increasing use of biomass does not lead to unsustainable practices in the EU and abroad, and improving a more circular and cascading use of biomass, the document went on to say.
Which biomass feedstocks and products are to be prioritised, and for what purposes, needs to be carefully evaluated against the economic and societal costs and against environment and climate impacts, according to the report.

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