In run up to Round Table Biomass House of Representatives 15 June next

A coalition of international environmental organisations, Dogwood Alliance (US), Natural Resources Defense Council (US), Save Estonia’s Forests and Biofuelwatch (UK), in collaboration with the Dutch Clean Air Committee, have sent an urgent letter to Dutch members of parliament about the need to withdraw long-term biomass subsidies – in the run-up to the parliamentary roundtable on biomass as 15 June1Urgent letter international coalition of environmental organizations. See the link. According to the environmental organizations, the biomass debate should be about the incorrectness of the politically claimed ‘climate neutrality’ of biomass instead of the (tightening of) sustainability certification of forest management, as will be discussed next Thursday.

In the letter, the groups propose a pathway for lawfully ending the subsidies early. They present detailed evidence that the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP), which certifies all or most wood pellets burned in Dutch coal power stations, fails to ensure that pellets comply with the minimum standards set out in Dutch legislation. Removing accreditation for the SBP as a permitted certifier of pellets burned in the Netherlands would, the groups believe, open the way for removing subsidies: without SBP accreditation, coal plant operators would no longer be able to claim that the pellets they are sourcing from the southeastern USA or Estonia are produced in a way that protects biodiverse, carbon stores and the ecological integrity of forests and peatlands.

Enviva, which provides a large share of the pellets burned in Dutch coal plants, routinely sources wood from clearcut highly biodiverse coastal hardwood forests, with no regard for communities, for wildlife, or for the climate. It is well past time that Dutch policymakers stop the charade of pretending that those practices in any way comply with Dutch sustainability standards.

Adam Colette, Program Director of Dogwood Alliance in the southern USA – the main pellet sourcing region for the Netherlands

Dutch politicians must take their responsibility and stop existing biomass subsidies for co-firing. The sourcing of the biomass is devastating for our forests and its biodiversity here in the southern USA. Biomass burning is worse than coal. Biomass burning exacerbates the climate and biodiversity crisis.

Rita Frost, Forest Advocate of National Resources Defence Council (USA)

This weeks Biomass Roundtable must not become yet another talking shop while our precious forests are being destroyed to help other countries, including the Netherlands, meet their renewable energy targets. It must result in action, action that stops subsidies for such a destructive form of energy.

Liina Steinberg, Coordinator of Save Estonia’s Forests

This joint demand with the foreign NGOs must now finally be heard by the Dutch MPs and be converted into immediate action. Current subsidies for burning forests from abroad in Dutch coal-fired power plants really need to be stopped now. New biomass subsidies have already stopped, now the existing subsidies. Dutch politicians must set an example for the rest of the world.

Fenna Swart, Chair of the Dutch Comité Schone Lucht

Cutting down forests and burning them for energy is never low-carbon and should not be classified as renewable – regardless of how sustainable or otherwise the forests from which wood is sourced are managed. However, the fact that many or most of the pellets do not even comply with the insufficient Dutch standards presents policymakers with a real opportunity to end those subsidies and help protect forests and climate.

Almuth Ernsting, Co-Director of Biofuelwatch

Contact Press & Media
Adam Colette,, Tel: 18287130047 (VS)
Rita Frost, (VS)
Liina Steinberg,, Tel: 3725160146 (Estland)
Fenna Swart,, Tel: 31634428154 (Nederland)
Almuth Ernsting,, Tel: +44-131-6232600 (VK)

1. Urgent Letter to Dutch Parliament (Link);
2. Position Paper Comité Schone Lucht (Swart et al., 2023) (Link);
3. Hearings on biomassa as of June 15th (Link).