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Half of Europe’s renewable energy comes from wood according to Eurostat statistics office

Special Report — Euractiv.com — November 30, 2012

SPECIAL REPORT / Practically half of the EU’s renewable energy currently comes from wood and wood waste, according to the EU statistics office Eurostat, but a lack of sustainability criteria for measuring its environmental impact is stoking fears of a hidden carbon debt mountain.

The new Eurostat numbers were issued in conjunction with the UN’s Year of Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL), which sets ambitious renewables, energy efficiency and universal energy access targets.

According to the Eurostat statistics, on average, 49% of renewable energy in the EU 27 states came from wood and wood waste for 2010, and most EU states met the majority of their renewable energy obligations this way.

Forest products were most popular in the Baltics, accounting for 96% of Estonia’s renewable energy and 88% of Lithuania’s. At the other end of the table, Norway and Cyprus only used wood materials for 11% and 13% of their renewable energy needs respectively.

“The bad news behind these figures is that the carbon debt from much of this wood means that CO2 emissions in the real world will actually go up,” Faustine Defossez the bioenergy policy officer for the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), told EurActiv.

EU states must source a fifth of their energy mix to renewables by 2020 and because wood is cheap, easily accessible and considered ‘carbon neutral’, it is quite literally a ‘low hanging fruit’.

 (To continue reading, click here)

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