Monday, December 15, 2014

1683. The Quest for Perpetual Growth and the Myth of Sustainable Wood-Based Energy: A Report

By Global Forest Coalition, December 10, 2014

Lima, Perú – In the context of the different international negotiations, including the current UNFCCC’s COP20, bioenergy and an entire bioeconomy are promoted as solutions to climate and economic crisis. Underlying this is the premise that endless economic growth can and must be sustained, and that we can resolve these crises by simply substituting fossil for biological energy sources. This misguided approach distracts attention from real solutions, which must address the grossly unsustainable over­ consumption of energy and resources by industrialized countries. These same unsustainable models must not be imposed on countries in the global South. Social movements are challenging consumer­oriented growth economics. They offer instead the alternative concept of “buen vivir” that rejects overconsumption, aims to meet basic needs for all, and supports people’s autonomy as well as local production and control.

Last evening, at the session co-organized with organizations of the Climate Space at the Peoples Summit in Lima, Peru, on ‘Climate Traps, which discussed the false solutions of climate-smart agriculture, geo-engineering and industrial bio-energy’, the Global Forest Coalition launched this new report sharing the findings of different case studies from across the world and the conclusions drawn from this review. “The issue of wood-based bioenergy is a complex one that very much deals with local, regional and national contexts, however, the increasing scale of demand for wood for energy production in countries like the UK, is sponsored with subsidies and policy targets that are already affecting forests in the rest of the world. In the meantime, firewood and overall conventional use for local consumption by rural communities tend to disappear”, said Isis Alvarez one of the authors of the report. 

According to Mary Louise Malig, campaigns coordinator for the GFC, “the issues and impacts highlighted are the result of the renewable energy subsidies currently offered to large­scale bioenergy. These subsidies incentivise the expansion of this increasingly lucrative and destructive sector by energy companies. The only way to stop these impacts is to remove the subsidies that are driving the industry, and to do that we must remove industrial­scale bioenergy from definitions of renewable energy. Energy that is damaging to forests, to climate and to public health should not be defined as or subsidised as renewable energy”.
The report can be downloaded from 
Note: GFC held the 1st International Meeting on Wood-based Bioenergy in Asunción, Paraguay from Nov.20-21st. Read the statement that came out the meeting – Forests not Fuel 

Mary Louise Malig: +51 955 466 293 (Perú)

Isis Alvarez: +57 315 6484656 (Colombia)

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