Regarding your Big Read on biomass (“Can burning trees ever be green?”, July 2) bioenergy is an essential tool for climate change mitigation. This is supported by the world’s leading climate science body, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as by leading climate authorities, including the International Energy Agency and the UK’s Climate Change Committee.
Robust regulations, such as those in the EU’s renewable energy directive II and the current UK system, ensure that bioenergy has a positive climate impact now and in the longer term.
The EU’s joint research centre has called for a “swift and robust implementation of the REDII sustainability criteria related to forest biomass”. Independent certification schemes that will be recognised by the commission also provide further certainty.
Independent data show increasing forest growth and carbon sequestration in areas that have supplied bioenergy for years, be it in Europe or in the US south-east. Bioenergy markets provide revenues for responsible foresters, driving sustainable forest management and keeping forests as forests.
At times, the debate on biomass ignores the scientific understanding and best practice that has been developed and is already in place. The debate may have perverse consequences if it results in an essential tool being discarded. We should not be distracted from our main objective, which is the phase out of fossil fuels.
Chief Executive, Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (UK)
Secretary-General, Bioenergy Europe
Executive Director, US Industrial Pellet Association