Details zur Publikation
|Titel (primär)||Cascading of woody biomass: definitions, policies and effects on international trade|
|Autor||Olsson, O.; Bruce, L.; Hektor, B.; Roos, A.; Guisson, R.; Lamers, P.; Hartley, D.; Ponitka, J.; Hildebrandt, J.; Thrän, D.|
|Abstract||Cascade use or “cascading” of woody biomass is increasingly being discussed as a key
principle upon which to base efficient utilization of wood, especially in the European Union (EU).
Cascading does not have one universal definition, although a common theme is that “material
use of wood should be prioritized over energy use of wood”, which forms the basis for our
analysis herein. This working paper aims to inform the debate on cascading through an analysis
of the terminology around cascading, and a review of how the concept is framed and
implemented in policies of the EU and selected member states. We also discuss potential
implications on international bioenergy markets from implementation of the cascading principle.
In recent years, the cascading concept has been emphasized in EU Bioeconomy Strategy, the
EU Circular Economy Package and the EU Forest Strategy. As of September 2015, the
cascading principle is also part of EU legislation as part of the so-called "iLUC Directive” that
largely governs the role of biofuels in the EU’s climate change mitigation policies up until 2020.
However, the terminology surrounding cascading is fragmented in both the research literature
and among EU policy documents. There is no clear consensus on a clear and precise definition
of what cascading actually entails. Absence of coherent terminology in legislative documents is
likely to be a cause for problems and we want to stress the importance of developing a clear
definition of cascading if it is to be included in future legislative processes.
We analyze the consequences of potential implementation of the cascading principle by looking
at both historical cases of similar policies and current examples from Europe and North
America. Conclusions from the cases suggest that there are clear risks that policy
implementation of the cascading principle results in complicated legislative processes,
especially pertaining to reaching agreement on the set of wood assortments that can be used
for material purposes and which therefore should be excluded from energy use. Given the large
and growing international trade in both bioenergy and biomaterials, further complications are
likely to arise if the cascading principle is enforced only in select EU member states or in the EU
but not in North America. Without harmonized rules, the efficiency and efficacy of cascading
policies could be compromised as market actors focus more on exploiting regulatory loopholes
than on improving their performance.
To support a fruitful debate on the policy structures of a future economy based on renewable
resources, and the role of bioenergy therein, it is important to first define the policy goals and
from that starting point discuss potential measures to achieve these goals. The measures
sorted under the “cascading” banner could be part of the policy portfolio, but before cascading
has been properly defined and evaluated, it should not be seen as the silver bullet that resolves
all potential problems in the transition to a biobased economy.
|Olsson, O., Bruce, L., Hektor, B., Roos, A., Guisson, R., Lamers, P., Hartley, D., Ponitka, J., Hildebrandt, J., Thrän, D. (2016):
Cascading of woody biomass: definitions, policies and effects on international trade
IEA Bioenergy, 71 pp.