”Europe is just sitting on its hands”
”Our biggest challenge is to tear down the enormous subsidies of the energy sector,” said Mr. Nils Torvalds, Member of the European Parliament and its Alde group today at the European state forests Eustafor meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland.
Torvalds has been responsible of the work of the Parliament, aiming at controlling the indirect land use change. The so called ILUC work has been enormously difficult. This is evident by the fact that the predecessor of Torvalds actually failed to finalize the work.
According to Torvalds the work is difficult most of all because it was started on ideological basis and many of the MEPs do not realize the connections of the work to reality. “I have said that I would take willingly the members of my group in deep, Finnish forest and negotiate only with those who are able to come back by themselves. I think that the result would be better,” said Torvalds.
Initially the ILUC work was based on worries that growing bioenergy sector moves agricultural fields to energy production, which would create shortage of food. So, most of all the question is about energy production, where the member states of the Union have a negative competition: they all want to keep what is their own.
Some countries want to maintain their coal production. Some others want to get more subsidies for their agriculture. And some others fear that they are left outside of the progressive technology.
The result is that Europe is just sitting on its hands, which according to Torvalds, means, that this does not result in anything reasonable.
“There is no energy strategy”
As to European energy strategy, Torvalds says that there is no such at all, not in the near future nor in the long run. Only thing that there is no shortage of are the subsidies. And these we do have to the extent and variety that nobody is able to see the real value of different production techniques.
“Take the British case, which really is just like the way to hell, paved with good intentions: they give subsidies even to nuclear energy production,” says Torvalds.
Policy is described by either-or-standpoints, while energy production should be seen as a process form biofuels produced on agricultural fields to next generation biofuels that are not competing with food production,” says Torvalds.
Neither do Europeans see the possibilities of wood and forest industry in energy production. This all is because the ILUC process is based on moralities and not on needs of energy production.
One way does not suit all
According to Torvalds, some member states are on a good road. They could serve as examples, if only we could get rid of the subsidies. This need is understood everywhere, but nobody is willing to give up anything.
Another tool is circular economy and use of wastes. But this is again too often seen as a morality and not as a technical issue, which it on the other hand is.
The third tool is the use of forests, which is hampered by the incomprehensible European principle, according to which everything must suit everybody in an exactly same way. According to Torvalds, in reality this principle prevents reasonable decisions, such as use of forests in energy production.
As for Finland this principle would lead to increasing use of Russian oils and gas, which most of all is an ecological catastrophe enhanced by bad production technology.
In addition to this, the Union does not really understand that use of biological raw materials is a question of logistics. The challenge in Finland, for example, is the length of the country, 1,300 kilometres – it is as much as the distance between Brussels and Rome.