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  • EU using biomass loophole to cover up carbon emissions, critics say

    2015 - 10.21

    The European Union (EU) needs to provide greater transparency and honesty about its carbon emissions, critics have said.

    According to Climate Central, a nonprofit organisation that analyses and reports on climate science, there are loopholes in the way the EU declares its carbon emission which are very misleading.

    An article on the subject by Quartz explains: "A legal loophole in the EU’s climate rules means it turns a blind eye to tens of millions of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that it pumps into the atmosphere each year."

    This loophole is that the EU counts biomass as a renewable energy, when the reality is that the burning of wood for energy could be damaging the world's forests and increasing CO2 emissions.

    "The core issue lies in how to count the CO2 pollution released when wood is burned for electricity and heat," Climate Central states. It explains that just because trees grow back, this does not make them renewable, so the EU must be more careful in the way is classifies biomass energy as well as reconsider the way it reports its carbon emissions.

    The EU has set a target of getting 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. However, critics suggest that this could be to the detriment of the world's forests, which need to be managed and protected against unsustainable forestry techniques, such as chopping trees down at a fast rate to burn wood in power stations.

    Climate Central says: "Wood tends to emit more carbon than fossil fuels to generate the same amount of energy. Eventually, trees grow back and absorb this carbon. However, a growing body of peer-reviewed research suggests it can take decades—or even centuries—before a forest grows back enough to balance out the atmospheric CO2 created when its trees were burned."

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