Europeans Are Burning Trees to Keep Warm

By Matt Reynolds
November 7, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

In the past few decades, the European Union has transformed its energy system. In 2005 about 10 percent of all energy consumed in the EU came from renewable sources. Last year that share hit 22 percent—it’s one of the main reasons the bloc’s per capita carbon emissions have rapidly declined in the 21st century. …But here’s the weird thing. A huge chunk of that renewable energy comes from burning wood. Nearly 60 percent of all the EU’s renewable energy comes from bioenergy. …That includes agricultural waste, crops grown for biofuel, and—most importantly—wood from forestry industries. A small proportion of this biomass is turned into biofuels or burned in power plants, but almost three-quarters is burned to warm homes and businesses. …This might be about to change. …The European Parliament voted to end subsidies for unprocessed wood directly sourced from forests.

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