Increased biomass for energy production features as a key part of the transition to a competitive low-carbon EU energy system. Not all energy strategies however will lead to reduced emissions, and extensive biomass production inherently compete with, e.g., agricultural systems for key natural resources like water and land. This paper investigates the ramifications of three potential energy pathways for Europe developed by the H2020 REEEM project, ambitiously aimed at reducing CO2 emissions to 80–95% compared to 1990, using different mixes of biomass. Their environmental footprint for 2015–2050 in terms of land-use-change emissions and water consumption are confronted with near-term climate change projections. Finally, potential implications for the implementation and robustness of future European energy strategies are discussed, highlighting in particular the role of uncertainties in estimating the performance of biomass systems.