Bioenergy from Swedens’ forests must not end up as aviation fuel. Foto: Manfred Irmer från Pixels

In year 2030, 30 per cent of the aviation fuel in Sweden will come from bioenergy, according to an investigation made by the Swedish politician Maria Wetterstrand (Green Party) and financed by the Swedish Energy Agency. The investigation disregards CO2 emissions from bioenergy and promotes increased clear-cutting of forests. Right now, many of the last unprotected natural forests in Sweden are being clear-cut.

Wetterstrand’s investigation suggests that the amount of bioenergy blended in Swedish fuel will increase successively from year 2021 to reach 100% bioenergy by year 2045. At the same time more and more scientists warn about the negative effects caused by bioenergy. But the Swedish forest industry and the Swedish government are not listening to this important message. Both Protect the Forest and Biofuelwatch have informed the Swedish government about the negative effects concerning bioenergy but have received no response. Protect the Forest proclaims that Wetterstrand’s investigation is a disappointment and that it gives the wrong signals.

According to Protect the Forest the government in Sweden must ensure that the aviation decreases and that the government promotes a greater investment in trains. Clear-cutting of boreal forests and increased aviation is worsening the global climate by adding more CO2 to the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the investigation comes to the opposite conclusion, stating that replacing fossil fuels with bioenergy will lead to less CO2 in the future.

In Sweden many politicians and others advocate that residues from clear-cuttings can be used as bioenergy and they believe that the residues merely consist of branches and tops of trees. But the fact is that 10% of the bioenergy from Swedish forests consists of whole logs. The risk is that unprotected natural forests will be felled to be used as biofuel. Many such forests are unprotected today and are already being felled which is harming the biodiversity.

The Swedish government is not paying attention to the scientists although 800 international scientists have warned about bioenergy from forests. The CO2 which is let out during the clear-cutting of boreal forests may take a century to accumulate again.

Protect the Forest reckons that a higher efficiency in the use of electricity is required, that the consumption and manufacture of paper must decrease and that products from forests and other nature-resources must decrease massively. All remaining natural forests must be protected, not cut-down. There must also be a drive for recycling and restoration of forests.