UK REA: Scientists back bioenergy in open letter

By U.K. Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology | October 31, 2022

A new letter, signed by over 550 scientists, indicates broad scientific support for forestry and bioenergy in light of the increasing threat to forests from climate change. The letter calls for “climate smart” forest management to reduce risks to forests through the proper management and use of biomass products.

The letter emphasizes that with proper management and use of wood products, forests have the capacity to mitigate climate change and increase biodiversity whilst supporting a wider bioeconomy and renewable energy supply.

Lead author Professor Roland Irslinger states: “This letter is needed, because climate-smart forest management is the answer to the threat being posed to European forests and it is also an indispensable contribution to active climate protection.”

Wood products have multiple climate benefits – they create long-lasting products while embedding carbon and replacing more energy-intensive materials. On top of this, they create residues that can be used to substitute fossil resources and secure a renewable energy supply, all whilst establishing synergies with the wider forest economy.

Nina Skorupska CBE FEI, chief executive at the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), said, “This letter is a welcome contribution to the wider conversation on bioenergy and the use of wood products, underscoring the strong scientific support for sustainable bioenergy as a crucial part of the wider climate solution.

“Bioenergy is already playing a vital role in the U..K’s decarbonisation across power, heat and transport, and sustainable biomass is one of our most valuable tools for reaching Net Zero across the economy.

“The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Energy Agency and the U.K.’s Climate Change Committee all agree that sustainable bioenergy will play an important role in delivering net zero and tackling the climate crisis.

“As the U.K. Government develops a new Biomass Strategy, it should look to build on the existing sector and the strong sustainability governance already in place in order to ensure that bioenergy continues to deliver significant climate benefits.”