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Biomass and consequent biodiversity loss are the tricky issues for the Green Deal

In a meeting at the European Commission in Brussels with representatives of Climate Action Network Europe and 2Celsius, vice-president designate of the European Commission Frans Timmermans confirmed 2C’s thesis that biomass and biodiversity are the key issues of the coming Green Deal within von der Leyen’s new European executive body. Raul Cazan, president of 2C, made the case against forest biomass and carbon sinks within EU climate policy.

One cannot talk merely about climate, but about ‘climate and biodiversity’ as a continuum. They cannot be separated as, in a flawed manner, they initially were within the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

Timmermans at the Committee of the Regions. Photo: Giuseppe Navarra

The issue of biomass presents itself as a massive pressure element on forest ecosystems all over the world. The utter fact that RED generally considers biomass as a green source of energy lead to large scale loggings all over the continent and the world, as the EU created a market for wood pellets and wood for energy systems.

BIOMASS IS NOT GREEN. It is the reason for which 2C is a plaintiff in the EU Biomass Case at the General Court within the European Court of Justice.

Also, from the perspective of carbon sinks, forests are no longer a mere preoccupation of the Member States. It is a continental matter that falls easily under both environmental and climate policy of the EU.

Biomass, and especially forest biomass, is a hype today, mindlessly considered a panacea for climate change as, similarly, biofuels were more than a decade ago.

Within the frame of the new EU budget, cohesion policy will have an important climate twist. In this sense, it is important that EU funds reach out to local and regional actors directly whilst centralized Member States have less of a say in distributing them. Often, that redistribution falls under the decision of apparatchiks with the parties in power in CEE countries.

Timmermans wants a tighter connection with the European environmental civil society and tends to trust the pan-EU networks.

Also, a system of offsetting emissions and reforestation is being contemplated. The discussion is rather vague, however it includes ideas such as rewilding in combination with carbon sinks – some sort of a green development mechanism at EU level.

In the same spirit, Carpathians, as the green lung of Europe (as cliché as it may sound) might play a fundamental role in offsetting carbon via rewilding.

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