Land the size of Poland and Sweden combined will be needed to produce crops and wood for Europe’s bioenergy needs by 2030, reveals new research released by Friends of the Earth.
The new analysis by Vienna University of Economics and Business for Friends of the Earth Europe shows how Europe’s consumption of crops and wood for transport fuel, heating and electricity (collectively termed bioenergy) is set to double by 2030, exerting unparalleled and unsustainable new pressures on the world’s land and forests. Wood for heating and electricity alone will require nearly 40% of all Europe’s productive forest area by 2030, if it were all to be sourced within the European Union.
Ariadna Rodrigo, resource use campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: “Europe’s consumption of land has been out of control for too long. The increasing use of crops and wood as a fuel is set to double in the next 15 years – threatening forests, rural communities and food production the world over.
“Europe’s hunger for land and natural resources is unsustainable. Not only do we need to cap the use of biofuels for cars, but we need to cut the vast amount of land used by the EU by setting enforceable targets that reduce our over-consumption.”
The research findings come as EU governments continue to seek an agreement to limit biofuels and as the EU Commission is due to publish a package of planned measures to make the EU more resource efficient, the so-called ‘Circular Economy Package’.
The EU Commission committed in 2011 to start measuring and reducing Europe’s natural resource consumption, but it threatens to ignore land and water.