NGO files order against inclusion of biomass in REDII

Plaintiffs from six different countries have filed an action in the European General Court, outlining that the inclusion of forest biomass as a renewable fuel ‘fatally’ undermines the goals of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII).

Irish environmental NGO Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE)’s Tony Lowes is one of the plaintiffs in the legal challenge, according to a release.

Other plaintiffs include Hasso Krull, Estonia; Bernard Auric, France; Raul Cazan, Romania; Peter Sabo, Slovakia; and Kent Roberson, United States.

FIE claims that the lawsuit intends to remove forest biomass from REDII, which raises the overall EU target for Renewable Energy Sources (RES) consumption by 2030 from 20% to 32%.

“Burning wood for energy emit more CO2 per unit of energy generated than coal but RED II counts these emissions as zero,” said Dr. Mary S. Booth, director of the US Partnership for Policy Integrity and lead science advisor on the case.

“RED II also fails to properly account for the lifecycle carbon emissions from harvesting, producing, transporting, and burning woody biomass fuels, including the loss of carbon sequestration potential after the vast increase in industrial logging destroys the very forest systems that have until now absorbed carbon from the atmosphere.”

Lowes cited the Irish Climate Change Advisory Council’s 2018 report, declaring that “the bio-mass subsidy for peat power plants is an environmentally harmful subsidy resulting in substantially higher emissions of greenhouse gases at significant direct cost to the nation.

“According to the EPA ‘Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Projections 2017-2035’, this demand is increasing the price of biomass, resulting in ‘energy demand in heating being met by more fossil fuels because of the biomass subsidy of peat powered plants’.”

FIE claims that if the Court agrees to hear the case, it would be the ‘first’ time that an NGO will have been granted standing before the court to challenge an EU law or regulation.

You can read the full case here.

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