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01 March 2010

EU rules out binding green criteria for biomass

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The European Commission ruled out binding EU-wide sustainability criteria for biomass, offering member states recommendations for national action instead

The European Commission said the wide variety of biomass feedstocks make it impossible to devise a harmonised scheme, which would require taking into account their varying potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It also said that the environmental risks related to domestic biomass production "are currently low" and do not require specific EU rules.

The question has divided the EU executive and member states alike. The Commission's environment department, backed by a group of member states including the UK and the Netherlands, favoured binding sustainability criteria in order to ensure the environmental integrity of biomass energy production.

But the Commission's energy and transport department prevailed, saying no additional environmental safeguards are necessary. This led to criticism that the EU executive was seeking to reduce the European Union's dependence on fossil fuels at any cost


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