Open letter calling on European Commission to change classification of biomass burning as sustainable

Date Published

The following open letter was sent on Thursday, February 3, 2022 to the European Commission by an international coalition of over 40 NGOs, including the EAC. The group is calling for the Commission to change rules that allow investments in biomass energy production to be labelled as sustainable. The European Union was the first to inaccurately designate large-scale biomass burning as a carbon-neutral energy source, a decision that has been mirrored and referenced in jurisdictions across the world, including here in Mi'kma'ki/Nova Scotia. For more information on the call to the European Commission, click here


Dear President von der Leyen, Vice-President Timmermans, Vice-President Dombrovskis, and Commissioner McGuinness:

We write in regard to forestry and bioenergy criteria in the Taxonomy Climate Delegated Regulation (the “Delegated Regulation”).

As you know, in prior communications about the Delegated Regulation, numerous NGOs expressed strong concerns with these criteria, noting an absence of adequate standards to assure climate mitigation and adaptation; lack of scientific justification, review and legitimacy; a lack of internal and external controls; inclusion of numerous provisions that contravene climate and ecosystem science; and clear violations of the requirement of the Taxonomy that listed activities should “Do No Significant Harm” to other environmental objectives, among other issues.

The European Commission failed to incorporate critical input from NGOs, scientific advisors and civil society into the final Delegated Regulation. As a result, the final Delegated Regulation gives an imprimatur of “sustainability” to activities that increase greenhouse gas emissions and damage ecosystems.

Given the European Commission’s disregard for science and the public good in finalizing the forestry and bioenergy criteria, some organizations have taken initiative to request that the EC review the Delegated Regulation. We, the undersigned, support this request for internal review, and any subsequent legal challenge, should this be necessary.

As the Taxonomy Regulation points out, greenwashing is the “practice of gaining an unfair competitive advantage by marketing a financial product as environmentally friendly, when in fact basic environmental standards have not been met.” We believe this precisely describes the situation with regard to the forestry and bioenergy criteria in the Delegated Regulation, and accordingly urge the Commission to review these provisions.



Paulo Pimenta de Castro – ACRÉSCIMO, Associação de Promoção ao Investimento Florestal

Wolfgang Kuhlmann – ARA

Ronald Schout – Arnhems Peil

Mange Ram Adhana – Association For Promotion of Sustainable Development

Meredith Stanton – Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA)

Sondre Molteberg Dalen – Attac Norway

Almuth Ernsting – Biofuelwatch

Ariel Brunner – BirdLife Europe and Central Asia

Louise Morris – Blue Derby Wild 

Joost Blasweiler – Bomenbond

Marjan Houpt – Bomenstichting Achterhoek

Andy Wood – Coastal Plain Conservation Group

Fenna Swart – Comite Schone Lucht NL

Jeroen Spaander – De Klimaatcoalitie

Raymond Plourde – Ecology Action Centre

Mathilde Crepy – ECOS

Marloes Spaander – EDSP ECO

Ruth Y. Story – Education, Economics, Environmental, Climate and Health Organization

J Redwood – Environment East Gippsland inc.

Gabriel Schwaderer – EuroNatur

Jan van de Pol – Federatie tegen Biomassacentrales

Hannah Mowat – Fern

Emanuele Lombardi – Fondo Forestale Italiano

Gry Bossen – Forests of the World

Zoltan Kun – Friends of Fertö lake Association

Tony Lowes – Friends of the Irish Environment

Piotr Skubisz – Instytut Spraw Obywatelskich

Marjan Houpt – Landelijk Netwerk Bossen- en Bomenbescherming

Maarten Visschers – Leefmilieu

Kęstutis Kupšys – Lithuanian Consumers Alliance

Jonas Hulsens – Milieudefensie - Friends of the Earth Netherlands

Johan Vollenbroek – Mobilisation for the Environment

Bob Bancroft – Nature Nova Scotia

Bente Hessellund Andersen – NOAH - Friends of the Earth Denmark

Directors – Bomenstichting Achterhoek

Liina Steinberg – Päästame Eesti Metsad (Save Estonia’s Forests)

Peter Riggs – Pivot Point

Jan Willem van Gelder – Profundo

Lina Burnelius – Protect the Forest Sweden

Paul Schreiber – Reclaim Finance

Eugene Simonov – Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition

Soojin Kim – Solutions For Our Climate (SFOC)

John R. Spruill – Southern Forests Conservation Coaltion

Virginia Young – The Australian Rainforest Conservation Society

Toby Aykroyd – Wild Europe

Radosław Ślusarczyk – Workshop for all Beings


Background information