By P Gosselin
Skyrocketing fossil fuel energy prices are are driving the deforestation of Europe as citizens try to keep warm
It’s easy to argue that the “green” movement is causing much more environmental harm than good. High energy costs are leading to poverty, which in turn leads to less investment in environmental protection and nature conservation.
Biodiversity-rich forests are being cleared away to make room for wind parks and people are increasingly burning wood to stay warm as an alternative to natural gas and heating oil.
Blackout News here reports on how forests in Romania have been falling victim to illegal logging as the energy crisis has propelled the demand for firewood and pellets to rocket speed. “In Romania, entire nature reserves are disappearing as a result.”
“The sharp increase in demand for firewood, wood chips and pellets has also caused prices for these fuels to rise sharply, making them extremely lucrative for the illegal trade,” writes Blackout News. A lack of transparency and traceability are making the problem impossible to manage.
Blackout News cites a 2021 European Commission study showing Europe’s wood industry lacks transparency and that the demand for wood for heating has more than doubled in the past twenty years. Austria alone is reported to have imported approximately 120,000 tons of pellets from Romania last year. Europe’s CO2 reductions through the burning of biomass are costing its biotope dearly. Few are talking about this. What good will reaching zero CO2 emissions be if Europe’s forests end up being sacrificed and barren?
Greenpeace Romania says illegal logging is particularly bad in Romania and that more than half of the wood processed into pellets there comes from illegal logging in Natura 2000 areas. While authorities record an annual logging volume of 18 million cubic meters, “experts assume that another 20 million cubic meters of wood are illegally felled there each year and disappear without any evidence.”
One problem hindering the crackdown on illegal logging in Romania is rampant corruption in control bodies and government agencies. Penalties for the import of illegally logged timber “are also shockingly low”.
As long as Europe continues its efforts to eliminate fossil fuels and create energy shortages, prices will skyrocket and keep boosting the demand for wood as a source of energy.