The EU banned Russian wood pellet imports; South Korea took them all

The EU banned Russian wood pellet imports; South Korea took them all

Despite European countries becoming ever more reliant on woody biomass for energy generation, the European Union last July chose to ban the import of wood pellets from Russia during a fifth round of economic sanctions tied to the unprovoked war with Ukraine. As a result, South Korea — which is in the process of accelerating its energy transition from coal burning to wood pellets — found itself in a geopolitical quandary that also offered a domestic energy-making opportunity.  Not wanting to alienate either Russia or Western allies aligned with Ukraine, South Korea has reportedly opted to ignore the ongoing war and take advantage of the entire surplus of Russian wood pellets on the open market. Since late July 2022, South Korea has been the exclusive destination for Russian produced pellets, tripling its imports in November alone to 65,000 tons, according to a report in late December by LesProm, a European timber holding and wood-products conglomerate. Through November of last year, South Korea paid $69 million to Russia for 377,000 tons of wood pellets — double what it imported from Russia in 2021. Forest advocates in Asia, Europe and the United States are livid at South Korea’s actions, noting that Russian imports now make up 15% of South Korea’s total wood pellet supply. They also say that South Korea is paying little attention to third-party certification programs that would help ensure that wood pellet supplies are not contributing to net deforestation and biodiversity loss in Russia. “South Korea, taking advantage of market…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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