The EU Parliament recently voted on numerous initiatives that will have a significant impact on the sawmill and timber industry in the years to come. Among other things, the new EU forest strategy was on the agenda with tailwind for the use of wood. In addition, the European Parliament has decided to no longer classify forest wood as renewable energy within the framework of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II). Against this background, the German Sawmill and Timber Industry Association (DeSH) emphasizes the importance of sustainable wood energy in combination with wood products.
"The revision of the RED II will have a decisive influence on whether the federal government will achieve its goal of achieving a 50 percent share of renewable heat by 2030," comments DeSH Managing Director Julia Möbus. “Today, the contribution of renewables in the heat sector is just 16.5 percent. More than three quarters of this is provided by wood. With the decision to revoke the status of renewable energy for forest wood as “primary biomass”, there is a risk that the climate targets will be missed by a wide margin. The abolition of subsidies would also have serious effects on the operators of wood-fired power plants and ultimately on consumers. In view of the current energy crisis, that would be a fatal signal.”
Möbus is also critical of the regulation on deforestation-free supply chains: “Contrary to urgent calls for practicality, the EU has created additional hurdles. In view of the pending negotiations between Parliament, the Council and the Commission, we therefore continue to advocate a balance of interests that brings the objectives of the regulation to an appropriate implementation. For the revision of RED II, however, this means a commitment to sustainable wood energy."
With regard to the EU forest strategy, Land&Forst Betriebe Austria noticed slight improvements in the parliamentary position compared to the proposal of the EU Commission. Parliament underlined the responsibility of the Member States for forest issues, spoke out clearly in favor of existing indicators and processes and called for a better balance between the ecological, economic and social priorities of the strategy. Nevertheless, difficult points remain in the program, such as unresolved questions of definitions ("Old Growth Forests" etc.).
“In Austria, wood is not burned senselessly, but is an important building block for value creation in the country and for achieving the ambitious climate goals. We can therefore not afford to do without it. The fact that the EU is now belittling this achievement or even calling it into question is the wrong way to go! It is now up to the member states in the Council to iron out these issues and to develop a technically well-founded solution for the future away from ideological discussions,” demands Felix Montecuccoli, President of Land&Forstbetriebe Österreich.