Just yesterday, the Dutch government came together to reject future subsidies for biomass.
This is a big win for Southern forests and communities.
This is nothing short of historic in the Netherlands. It sets an important precedent that will send shockwaves through the biomass industry.
In the Netherlands, public and political debate over biomass has been simmering for almost a decade. This quick turn in political events shows that it has boiled over.
Since 2013, the Netherlands has imported vast amounts of wood from Southern US forests to burn in coal-fired power stations.
But, as we know, biomass and “sustainable” are oxymorons, and the Dutch public has been calling out the industry’s false claims.
Politicians have ignored public outcry. In 2019, the Dutch government reserved an additional 11.4 billion euros to subsidize biomass. All this fueled the public outcry that has been growing.
In 2020, 98% of Dutch citizens polled favored ending subsidies for biomass.
Dutch activists and campaigners pushed their government to choose better sources of renewable energy and to leave our Southern forests alone.
A couple of years ago, insiders, experts, and even other NGO allies wrote us off. They claimed the Netherlands needed biomass in their clean energy plans to achieve their climate commitments. Together, Southerners, Dutch activists, and everyday people pushed back. We reminded the world that this was all industry greenwashing. We know that we can dispel greenwashing through organizing and dogged determination.
This win today is just the beginning. This fight has inspired resistance to subsidizing biomass altogether.
Everywhere you look, people are:
- challenging wood pellet production facilities
- fighting back against biomass subsidies as a false form of renewable energy
- uniting for healthy, natural forests
Enviva is the largest wood pellet manufacturer in the world and a major supplier to the Netherlands. The pressure is on for Enviva and the house-of-cards economy they built through forest destruction and community degradation.
If this victory shows us anything, it’s that the false solution of biomass will not last much longer.
This decision affirms the power of our social movement to create positive change. This movement continually brings us toward a safe, just, and thriving world. We must build on this victory. If it’s wrong to grant subsidies for future projects without a phaseout plan, then it’s wrong for any biomass subsidies. Period.
The powerful coalition of people and organizations in the Southern US and Netherlands are better positioned than ever before. Together we can make real renewable energy a top priority for the Netherlands government. Then we can all achieve meaningful progress on climate targets. We won’t rest until incentives shift away from dirty biomass and instead support standing forests and truly clean renewable energy.