Greens tell EU not to call garbage renewable power
BRUSSELS - Greenpeace warned the European Union yesterday that plans to classify some forms of waste incineration as "renewable" energy would lead to a proliferation of unpopular new incineration plants.
EU governments want to classify the burning of biodegradable municipal waste alongside more commonly acknowledged "green" power sources such as wind and solar - a move which could give it special status as the 15-nation bloc tries to increase the amount of power it gets from non-fossil fuels.
But Greenpeace says such a move would undermine efforts to recycle waste, devalue the notion of environmentally friendly renewable energy and encourage incineration, which some studies show can cause adverse health effects.
"To promote these toxic incinerators as a source of renewable energy is shameful," Paul Johnston of Greenpeace Research Laboratories told a news briefing.
Johnston has co-written a report for Greenpeace which shows a number of scientific studies have found links between emissions and residues from incinerators and hazards to human health such as cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems.
"The EU Council should not be advocating the use of incineration, they should be phasing it out," Johnston said.
The draft EU law on renewables is still going through the legislative process and Greenpeace is hoping the clause on incineration will be deleted by the European Parliament, which shares law-making powers with national governments on the issue.
The law sets non-binding targets for each EU country to increase its share of renewable energy, aiming to increase the proportion of renewables in total EU electricity production to 22 percent by 2010 from 14 percent now.
Energies classed as renewable can expect to get favourable treatment from policy makers as governments try to reach their targets.
Greenpeace said the inclusion of incinerating biodegradable waste to recover its energy would be to confuse a polluting form of waste disposal with a clean "biomass" energy production which involves burning wood or other energy crops.
"This directive (EU law) will become a directive to promote incinerators which is not what was intended," Greenpeace spokesman Lorenzo Concoli said.
Increasing the use of renewables is a key part of the blocs effort to reduce its output of "greenhouse gas" emissions blamed for contributing to global warming.
Rules on the disposal of biodegradable waste such as vegetable peelings, paper and cardboard are becoming increasingly tighter as EU regulations limiting the amount that can go to landfill dumps come into force.
But Greenpeace says burning it is not a solution as the non-recyclable biodegradable waste does not give off the necessary heat to generate electricity.
The environmental group wants to see greater use of composting to deal with biodegradable waste. The EUs executive Commission is drafting a strategy paper to promote composting.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
Komentáře k článku. Co si myslí ostatní?