The video investigation “The business of logging”, Shot in Italy And Romaniacreated in collaboration with the program Rainews spotlight and Il Fatto Quotidiano airs Friday 15 July at 8.30 pm on Rainews. It investigates the impact of energy from forest biomass, qualified as renewable by the European Commission and for this subsidized by the Member States with approx 17 billion euros every year. But over 120 environmental NGOs denounce that this energy source puts European forests at risk and ask the European Parliament – which will vote on the Renewables directive (Red III) on 13 September – to stop subsidies.
The documentary reconstructs the path of wood burned in forest biomass power plants in Calabria – where more than half of this type of energy is produced in our country – Sicily And Sardiniadiscovering that large quantities (over 300 thousand tons per year) of wood chips – or wood reduced to flakes – arrive by ship and more than half leave from the Tuscany. The ng Transport & Environment calculated that over 4,000 tons of Co2 were produced in 2021 alone for the transport of wood chips by sea. We have been in the protected area of Belagaio (Grosseto) – where activists have documented phenomena of hydrogeological instability following the cutting of a forest company that supplies biomass power plants and a trial is underway for violation of forest regulations – and in Strongoli (Crotone) – where one of the largest forest biomass plants in Europe is located and the Provincial Health Authority (Asp) intervened to protect citizens from dust and noise.
In Romaniawhere the last virgin forests of Europe and several forest rangers were killed by the “wood mafia“, We followed the environmental activist Tiberiu Boșutar – who suffered an attempted murder in September – in an action to denounce illegal forest cuts. While the Romanian government promotes the conversion of coal-fired plants into woody biomass plants, the Professor of Forestry at the University of Suceava warns: “This will increase illegal logging. For sure”.
Giacomo Grassi, member of the IPCC and co-author of the European Commission report on energy from forest biomass, explains that this is ecological only if wood residues are burned “which would have returned to the atmosphere anyway”, since – “in proportion to ‘energy produced, the combustion of wood emits more Co2 than fossil fuels ”:“ The risk is that subsidies to bio-energy incentivize excessive use of wood ”. The documentary reveals that subsidies to woody biomass power plants make up over 60% of the turnover of the plants and that the regulation that regulates them is the result of a copy-paste of a document from the sector lobby.
The video-investigation “The affair of forest cuts – the price of energy from woody biomass” was carried out with the financial contribution of the # IJ4EU program and Journalismfund.
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