Environmental implications of increased reliance of the EU on biomass from the South East US
Final report - Study
Against the backdrop of increased EU demand for solid biomass for energy imported from the US southeast, this study assesses the conditions, trends, effects, policy framework, and environmental risk profile relevant to the EU imports from the case study region. The US is the main exporter of wood pellets to the EU, and the growth of the industrial pellet industry has raised concerns about possible negative impacts, direct and indirect. The perceived environmental implications in forest areas of the US Southeast are assessed and four typical effects concerning changes to management of forests... and land and to market wood markets in the US are identified. When these effects are matched with EU policy objectives, it appears that in particular biodiversity loss, deforestation and forest degradation, not meeting greenhouse gas performance and reduced resource efficiency can constitute EU policy risks. To identify appropriate EU action to these risks, 12 intervention tools are considered, taking into account external policy constraints and considerations of cost, effectiveness, administrative burden, policy coherence and innovation. The tools all build on existing or planned EU legislation, and include intervention tool types such as certification, LCA based footprints, quotas, no-go areas and negative lists, as well as an enforcement of the material hierarchy.
- Corporate author(s): Directorate-General for Environment (European Commission)
- Personal author(s): Pinchot Institute for Conservation; COWI Themes: Forestry, North America
- Subject: bioenergy, biomass, climate change policy, deforestation, energy demand, energy policy, environmental impact, exploitation of resources, forestry economics, forestry policy, land use, renewable energy, sustainable forest management, United States, wood product