At CBD, Parties Must Recognize that Bioenergy Harms NaturePosted by On

Enviva clearcut for biomass (C) Dogwood Alliance

At the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15), which begins this week, parties will negotiate the language of draft target 18 on subsidies that contribute to biodiversity loss.

We hope this language will be very strong, especially given that redirecting these subsidies could likely fill the $600-$800 billion biodiversity funding gap.

That’s because some of these subsidies are enormous.  For example, the UK directs almost £2 billion in subsidies to biomass every single year—most of them to a single company (Drax). And a recent NRDC-commissioned report by Trinomics found that just 10 European countries subsidize energy with €6.3 billion every year.

Unfortunately, these whopping amounts of anti-biodiversity subsidies are only likely to grow as Powering Past Coal Alliance members and other countries increasingly look to biomass to meet net zero goals. 

And there’s no end in sight—because bioenergy’s biggest cost is the fuel it buys (i.e., wood pellets), subsidies won’t help make it financially independent in the long-term.  There’s little likelihood bioenergy would ever be able to survive without the lifeline of subsidies.

While countries pour money into this fake renewable energy, bioenergy is leading to massive forest degradation and loss that undermines the very commitments countries are making at CBD. Indeed, increasing evidence shows that…

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