Page 56 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2016 publication
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56  Summer 2016 European Energy Innovation


Unleashing bioenergy

By Christofer Fjellner, Member of the European Parliament

                                                           One thing is certain;
                                                                             biomass will be at the
                                                                             centre stage the coming
                                                                             years. It will be crucial to
                                                           increase the share of biomass in our
                                                           energy production if we are to stop
                                                           global warming. But there is definitely
                                                           room for improvement. As our use of
                                                           biomass increases so are the threats
                                                           to it and so is the competition for raw
                                                           materials. And as this competition
                                                           increases more and more players will
                                                           want to use politics and legislation in
                                                           order to secure their own supply. We
                                                           can already hear calls being raised
                                                           for more and tougher regulation of
                                                           biomass. For instance phrases such
                                                           as ‘cascading use’ and ‘sustainability
                                                           criteria’ are catching on. Because who
                                                           wouldn’t want to promote an efficient
                                                           and sustainable use of resources?

                                                           But what they mean within the walls of
                                                           the European Parliament and the outside
                                                           world is two completely different things.
                                                           ‘Cascading use’ is a sound principle for
                                                           a company to apply at its own resources
                                                           which the industry already does as they
                                                           have an interest in maximizing profit. But
                                                           in the EU context it means that politicians
                                                           decide which resources should be used
                                                           for what and how. And sustainability
                                                           criteria might sound reasonable but
                                                           all too often it is forgotten that fossil
                                                           fuels have no sustainability criteria
                                                           whatsoever. By wanting to protect
                                                           biomass we might in fact smother it. And
                                                           in most cases the alternative to biomass
                                                           is fossil fuels. At the same time I can
                                                           understand that countries which have
                                                           no forests or other sources of biomass
                                                           wants to know that what they are shifting
                                                           to is in fact sustainable and not creating
                                                           yet another problem which we will have
                                                           to handle later on.

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