Page 57 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2016 publication
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Summer 2016 European Energy Innovation    57


Obviously as a Swede this is                countries instead of trying to teach
provocative as we some hundred years        them something they already know.
ago taught ourselves how to tackle          It is also important that we learn from
deforestation. For every tree being cut     already existing forums such as Forest
down in Sweden two new are planted          Europe instead of creating parallel
and we even have support schemes for        structures for forest management in
those who keep our fields open and          the EU.
free from forests. It stands clear that we
simply do not face the same challenges      The importance of biomass will only
as the United Kingdom or the                increase as our fight to tackle climate
Netherlands. But yet we are now faced       change intensifies. It is only when we
with a situation where we are subjected     replace fossil products with sustainable
to demands of new regulation on             products made out of biomass we
forestry and biomass by those who           best store the carbon and when we
a thousand years ago cut down their         shift from fossil fuels to renewable
forests, and still haven’t figured out      energy sources such as biomass we
how to get them back. At the same           decrease our impact on the climate.
time our forests are growing at a record    This applies not only to energy but also
pace. This is at least from a Swedish       to other areas such as construction.
point of view somewhat contradictory.       But in order to ensure this we need
At the root of this problem lies the        rules which encourages active forestry
fundamental misconception that              and the use of bio-energy instead of
Europe is being deforested while in fact    doing the opposite. This is why it is so
the forest area of the EU is increasing     important that the LULUCF rules which
with the equivalent area of Cyprus          are to be updated promote forestry
every year. Our problem lies not in         and not hinder it. And this is why it is
deforestation but in poorly managed         important that the Renewable Energy
forests.                                    Directive promotes biomass instead
                                            of tying it down with unnecessary and
It is clear that a balance between          counterproductive regulations. A tree
these interests needs to be struck. It is   which is not growing is not storing
indeed legitimate to want to know that      any more carbon and a forest which
the resources being used are in fact        is not managed will not grow as well
sustainable but that must not be done       as it could. To use the forests and
in a way which hinders functioning          the products which come from it is a
and sustainable biomass markets. It         prerequisite for us to benefit from the
is important to remember that when          carbon storage capacity of our forests.
Finland and Sweden joined the Union
the forested area of the EU increased       The use of biomass will only increase
by over 50 percent. The countries that      as we continue to decarbonize our
live of forestry do not only have a long    economies. We must keep our eye
standing tradition in doing so but they     on the prize in order to stop climate
also know how to maintain the forests       change. Putting an unnecessary leash
to ensure that their livelihood does not    on biomass is in fact putting a leash on
disappear. We must learn from these         the fight to tackle climate change. l
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