The European Commission earlier this month released a startling new report acknowledging in detail the far-reaching environmental impacts of the exploding trans-Atlantic wood pellet trade. The report validates much of what NRDC and our partners in the environmental community on both sides of the Atlantic have been sounding the alarm on for the last three years.
Specifically, the report notes that whole trees that are chopped down and turned into wood pellets in the Southern United States are increasingly helping generate electricity in Europe by being shipped overseas to be burned in power plants. The handwriting has been on the wall for years. According to the report, the export of wood pellets from the U.S. to the EU has sky-rocketed – from .53 million tonnes in 2009 to 3.89 million tonnes in 2014, an increase driven primarily by EU climate and energy policies. The report also estimates that approximately 97 percent of U.S. pellet exports are sourced from the South.