The Paris Agreement and the EU Climate and Energy Framework set ambitious but necessary targets. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by phasing out the technologies and infrastructures that cause fossil carbon emissions is one of today’s most important challenges. In the EU, bioenergy is currently the largest renewable energy source used. Most Member States have in absolute terms increased the use of forest biomass for energy to reach their 2020 renewable energy targets.
In recent years, the issue of ‘carbon neutrality’ has been debated with regard to the bioenergy products that are produced from forest biomass. There is no clear consensus among scientists on the issue and their messages may even appear contradictory to decision-makers and citizens. Divergence arises because scientists address the issue from different points of view, which can all be valid. It is important to find agreement on some basic principles, to inform policy makers. Guidance is also needed on how the results should be interpreted.
This report provides insights into the current scientific debate on forest biomass, carbon neutrality and climate change mitigation. It draws on the science literature to give a balanced and policy-relevant synthesis, from both an EU and global perspective.