The rapid destruction of forests and their surrounding ecosystems for exploitation as so-called ‘renewable fuel’ due to deeply flawed European policy was highlighted at a packed screening of the documentary “Burned”, hosted by the An Taisce Climate Committee in the Patagonia store, Dublin last night (Wednesday, March 7th).

'Burned' revealed the social and scientific consequences of the unprecedented acceleration of industrial logging and pelleting of hardwood trees in the south-eastern United States, which is largely being driven by defective European policy.

Forest biomass is misleadingly classified as a ‘renewable fuel’ in the European Union’s 2018 revised Renewable Energy Directive. However, burning forest wood (whole trees) actually increases emissions above that of burning of fossil fuels and leads to significant air pollution through the emission of airborne pollutants such as fine particles.

As the film noted: “The current economic system values forest destruction more than forest protection”. In the light of the ever more urgent need to achieve deep, immediate and permanent cuts in total carbon emissions from all sources, while restoring and protecting natural carbon sinks such as forests, this policy of felling healthy hardwood forests to burn for energy is wrong-headed in the extreme.

The people of Europe are being seriously misled if not deliberately deceived by this counterproductive policy which is the antithesis of renewable energy.

“The reality of this environmental and social destruction is being ignored by policymakers” stated An Taisce's Climate Change spokesperson John Gibbons. “The Renewable Heat Incentive and Renewable Energy Support Scheme backed by the Irish Government are driving the devastation of forests abroad due to the flawed assumption that imported wood chips and pellets are in some way carbon neutral”.


For further information, contact:
John Gibbons, An Taisce Climate Change Committee: +353 87 233 2689
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995
email: [email protected]
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland