The substitution of biomass for fossil fuels in energy consumption is a measure to mitigate global warming, as well as having other advantages. Political action plans for increased use exist at both European and national levels. This paper briefly reviews the contents of recommendations. guidelines. and other synthesis publications on Sustainable use of forest biomass for energy. Topics are listed and an overview of advantages. disadvantages, and trade-offs between them is given, from the viewpoint of society in general and the forestry or the Nordic and Baltic countries, the paper also identifies the extent to which wood for energy is and energy sectors in particular. F included in forest legislation and forest certification standards under the "Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification" (PEFC) and the "Forest Stewardship Council" (FSC) schemes. Energy and forest policies at EU and national levels, and European PEFC forest standards are analysed. With respect to energy policies, the utilisation of wood for energy is generally supported in forest policies but forest legislation is seldom used as a direct toot to encourage the utilisation of wood for energy. Regulations sometimes restrict use for environmental reasons. Forest certification standards include indicators directly related to the utilisation of wood for energy under several criteria, with most occurences found under environmental criteria. Roles and problems in relation to policy, legislation, certification standards, recommendations and guidelines, and science are discussed. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.