General Article Burning land: how much land will be required for Europe’s bioenergy?

Topic Selected: Energy
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New research reveals the vast land footprint for Europe’s bioenergy needs.
By Ariadna Rodrigo and Robbie Blake

New research by the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) for Friends of the Earth Europe shows how Europe’s consumption of bioenergy is exerting unparalleled and unsustainable new pressures on the world’s land and forests.

With demand for bioenergy (crops and wood used for transport fuel, heating and electricity) set to more than double between now and 2030, Europe will require an area of land and forest the size of Sweden and Poland combined to meet our bioenergy needs.

Our consumption of land is out of control. Europe is already the continent with the highest dependence on land from outside its borders, and has the second highest level of land consumption per capita. Our growing hunger for unsustainable bioenergy, encouraged by subsidies, targets and policies, will only exacerbate the disproportionate pressure Europe exerts on precious global land resources.


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