“We, the undersigned organisations believe that we must move beyond burning forest biomass to effectively address climate change. We call on governments, financiers, companies and civil society to avoid expansion of the forest biomass based energy industry and move away from its use. Subsidies for forest biomass energy must be eliminated. Protecting and restoring the world’s forests is a climate change solution, burning them is not.”

It doesn’t get much clearer than this. This is what a sobering 123 civil society organisations from across the globe are agreeing on in a powerful statement launched today on the use of forest biomass for energy.

The statement shows that an issue that was once debated and analyzed has now reached a wide consensus among groups that fight for climate change mitigation, environmental protection and social justice. And the consensus is that large scale use of wood as “renewable energy” isn’t a way forward towards any of these aims.

The signatory organisations range from Greenpeace International, to NRDC and from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation all the way to Friends of the Earth in Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Federation of Community Forest Users in Nepal and to Friends of the Siberian Forests in Russia. From small to big, from near and far, all these organisations see the growing hunger for wood from our forests for energy production to be a significant and fast growing threat.  

The joint statement is titled “The Biomass Delusion” which illustrates the many failed promises of this industry. The undersigned organisations agree on four different issues that lead to the conclusion that large scale burning of forest biomass for energy is a delusion from meaningful and ethical climate action:

  1. It harms the climate as burning forest biomass is not low carbon and its encouraged by flawed systems of emission accounting.
  2. It harms the forests by threatening their biodiversity and climate resilience as well as undermines their climate mitigation potential.
  3. It harms people as the industries undermine community rights and interests and biomass burning harms human health and well-being.
  4. It harms the clean energy transition as it provides a life-line for continuing to burn coal for energy production and pulls investments away from other renewable energy sources.

It’s time to wake up and snap out of this delusion, isn’t it? These organisations, and more yet to join, will be working around the globe to oppose expansion of the forest biomass industry for energy and support conservation and restoration as climate solutions. 

Read the whole statement and see its signatories: http://environmentalpaper.org/the-biomass-delusion/