To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Multi-functionality and sustainability in the European Union’s forests published by the European Academies Science Advisory Council in April 2017, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of that report; and if he will make a statement.
The Department has noted the EASAC report published in April 2017 and their Commentary on Biomass and Carbon Neutrality of June 2018, which recognises that the carbon abatement offered by biomass depends on the circumstances of management of the forest and can be beneficial, neutral or negative.
Sustainable, low carbon bioenergy can help us to move to a low-carbon energy mix, increase our energy security and keep costs down for consumers. The Government has introduced mandatory sustainability criteria for biomass for heat and power generation, to ensure biomass reduces carbon emissions and is sourced sustainably. We recently consulted on further tightening the sustainability requirements for renewable electricity in the Contracts for Difference scheme.
The UK has worked with other member states to include the impacts of bioenergy on forest greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union’s climate change targets in the Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation and supported the inclusion of sustainability and greenhouse gas mitigation requirements in the revised Renewable Energy Directive.
Analysis by the ETI and in the Clean Growth Strategy of cost effective pathways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions suggest that bioenergy has a significant role in delivering our climate mitigation objectives.