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Bad Energy

Green Gas Without The Hot Air

As countries and companies commit to net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) targets of varying ambitions, anaerobic digestion has been framed as an environmental silver bullet. Anaerobic digestion is the process of taking organic materials, both purpose-grown, like maize and other crops, and waste streams, like food waste and manure, and breaking them down using micro-organisms in the absence of air. This produces methane-rich biogas, which can be used to generate heat and/or electricity, and nutrient-rich digestate, which can be used as a fertiliser. Sounds good, right?

What's the problem?

Sounds good, but unfortunately it is more complex. Instead of producing this gas, food waste could be prevented, heat and transport could be powered by wind and solar, meat and dairy production and consumption could be reduced, and nature restored.  These options are more energy efficient. Still, the European Commission has put forward a package of measures to secure clean energy under the RePowerEU Plan, which describes, among other things, the ambition to increase the biomethane production by 2030 to 35 BCM (a 11,5-fold increase from current 3 BCM). Independent studies have demonstrated that this target is unrealistic and likely to compromise the EU’s climate targets. However, the war in Ukraine has created significant pressure for EU Member States to diversify energy supply as soon as possible.

Badly designed biomethane policies can often create perverse incentives which actively perpetuate and expand factory farmed meat production, displace food production, and undermine food waste prevention. Across the European Union, the production of biomethane is on the rise and benefits from strong support.

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What's the solution?

We want to secure an EU and Member State policy framework that leads to a biomethane industry that fits within its “sustainable niche”, in terms of scale, type of feedstock, and suitable incentives which support rather than undermine preferable alternatives. Many civil society groups have expertise and campaign on topics which intersect with biomethane – from bioenergy crops to factory farming, from soil health to sustainable transitions for heating and transport. We want to bring the expertise of these organisations together, so that we can campaign in a more holistic, coordinated and effective manner on this issue, with a common vision.

We want to

  • influence EU policymakers to implement policy measures that support maintaining biomethane production within its ‘sustainable niche’
  • make biomethane an issue of concern and an area of programmatic focus for a core group of civil society organisations in EU Member States and in Brussels;
  • change the narrative on biomethane by creating public awareness of its multiple sustainability, land use, and food security challenges, so as to give legitimacy to civil society asks for policy intervention in this space, and provide policy makers with a public mandate to act on these asks.

 

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Latest updates in this campaign

International ‘Towards halving food waste in Europe’ Conference
International ‘Towards halving food waste in Europe’ Conference

Monday, 17th of June, Eindhoven, Netherlands, 17:00 sharp. I enter the bus…

Joint call: 14 organisations condemn the current biomethane rush
Joint call: 14 organisations condemn the current biomethane rush

Not so long ago, in November 2023, final negotiations on the Gas…

Win: High EU Biomethane Target Dropped!
Win: High EU Biomethane Target Dropped!

In a final negotiation session on 8th December, Member States did not…

Biomethane Sustainability Challenges – Insights from Our Recent Webinar
Biomethane Sustainability Challenges – Insights from Our Recent Webinar

Our recent report on biomethane has shown that the EU plan to…

View more updates

What can you do to make a difference?

Feedback's report on biogas

Curious to learn more about the production of biomethane and how it could promote more food waste and industrial animal farming? In this report, Feedback delves into the topic of biogas and outlines how to define the true role of biogas in a net zero future.

Read it here
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