On May 18th, the world’s most influential energy institution, the International Energy Agency (IEA), released its roadmap to achieve an energy transition towards a 1.5 degree Celcius pathway in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. Dogwood Alliance applauds the tireless anti-fossil fuel campaigners whose work has been recognized in the report with a call for an immediate end to the production of and investment in fossil fuels.
Unfortunately the IEA has missed the forest for the trees in that their models call for a significant increase in the use of biomass for energy by 2050.
They are calling for a 60% increase in biomass usage. Furthermore, they are also relying on the development and scale up of Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). BECCS is not only an unproven technology, but it also leads to a major increase in logging forests, our best existing “technology” for storing carbon and protecting us from the worst impacts of climate change. Finally, early estimates show that we will need a forest the size of India and Pakistan combined to meet the demands of these scenarios.
The Southeastern United States is global ground zero for wood pellet production, feeding the voracious biomass energy demands of Europe, the UK, and Asia.
We have faced the destruction for this false solution for far too long now, and we can no longer let our forests and communities be sacrifice zones. Bearing the brunt of biomass demand has meant degraded forests, impacted communities, and a climate that is no better off than when we burn coal.
Forests and soils are one of the world’s most crucial carbon sinks. To us, we need our forests to do what they do best: remain standing to capture carbon, provide habitat for wildlife, filter our water, and provide us with places to hunt, fish, and explore. In conclusion, Dogwood Alliance challenges the IEA report to rethink the bioenergy portion of its Net Zero statement and stop supporting biomass as a pathway to a clean energy future.