Friday, December 18, 2015

[Biofuelwatch] Biofuelwatch December Newsletter

Biofuelwatch December Newsletter
Biofuelwatch December Newsletter
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Dear subscriber, this is the December edition of our newsletter, with a report back from our participation in the Paris COP, details of new biomass power station plans in Wales, a new alert, and news from our campaigns.

In this newsletter:
  1. Biofuelwatch report back from Paris COP21 talks
  2. New biomass plants planned for Wales
  3. Tell DECC: Stop subsidising forest destruction!
  4. Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage: new report
  5. 'Threatened Forests' film premiere and public meeting
  6. Biofuelwatch reaction to coal phase-out announcement
  7. Biofuelwatch funding appeal

Interested in hosting a talk about the impacts of biomass power stations, biofuels or large-scale bioenergy in general?  Please contact us and we will try and get a speaker.

You can also make a donation, and get in contact with us here.

1. Biofuelwatch report back from Paris COP21

At long last, an international agreement on climate change has been struck, where countries will be forced to take action to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Good news, right? But whilst the Paris COP has done wonders for the public image of the politicians attending and the multinational companies sponsoring it, the conference was a big step backwards in terms of providing the world with a realistic chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate chaos.

The Indigenous Environmental Network described the Paris deal as "a trade agreement, nothing more. It promises to privatize, commodify and sell forested lands as carbon offsets in fraudulent schemes", whilst La Via Campesina said that "...multinationals are the main beneficiaries. It was essentially a media circus. However, states know how to make binding commitments when it comes to signing free trade agreements...Once more, it is clear that money dictates the law, even taking precedence over the future of humanity."

Read more

3. Tell DECC: Stop Subsidising Forest Destruction!
The Department of Energy and Climate Change will be making decisions on the next round of subsidy (Contracts for Difference or CfD) awards for new renewable electricity projects sometime between now and the end of 2016, but possibly very shortly.
We need to act urgently to stop more subsidies being awarded to biomass electricity which fuels forest destruction, climate change and air pollution – such as the two huge proposed power stations in Wales or another biomass unit at Drax.
If you haven't already done so, please take part in the alert – it only takes a minute.

5. 'Threatened forests' film premiere and public meeting
Over 70 people gathered at the Friends of the Earth offices in London on 17 November for the UK premiere of 'Threatened Forests' , a film showing the impacts of UK/EU biomass energy policies on the native forests of the southern US.
Speakers at the event included Danna Smith, Director, and Adam Macon, Campaign Director, both of Dogwood Alliance; Sami Yasser, chief scientist at Natural Resources Defence Council; and Duncan Law from Biofuelwatch.

Read More

6. Biofuelwatch reaction to recent coal phase out announcement

Amber Rudd's recent announcement that the government aims for a gradual replacement of coal power stations with ones burning gas, without any firm commitment on the timescale, has been condemned by environmental groups in the UK and US.  Campaigners are also dismayed that Amber Rudd commits the Government to further curbing support for onshore wind and solar power, but not for biomass electricity, which is linked to high carbon emissions and forest destruction.

Read the Biofuelwatch press release.
2. New biomass plants planned for Wales

If you live in Wales, particularly in Anglesey or Port Talbot, please contact us to discuss what we can do together to stop these new biomass power plants.
In October, plans were announced for two huge (299MWe) new biomass plants in Wales, one in Port Talbot and one in Holyhead, Anglesey.  They would both be Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants, using some of the waste heat to farm seafood and grow vegetables – under UK rules, biomass power stations can be subsidised as CHP even if they are just 35% efficient and make use of a very small proportion of waste heat. Both would burn virgin wood.
According to media articles, the total cost is £2bn, with some of the money coming from Chinese company Sinofortone. The company behind the plants is Orthios Eco-Parks, run by Sean McCormick, an architect from Chester who appears to have no background in this kind of project.

Read more

4. Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS): new report
We have long been alarmed by the promotion of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) as a way of mitigating climate change. BECCS would involve capturing CO2 from biomass burning power plants or biofuel refineries and pumping it underground. BECCS forms part of the UK's Bioenergy Strategy and has been endorsed by different governments, institutions and energy companies (such as Shell) worldwide - although nobody is actually investing in it.

At the recent Climate Conference in Paris, many interest groups hyped the idea of BECCS as a last-ditch climate hope, i.e. as a way of scrubbing billions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. And worryingly, the International Panel on Climate Change said in their latest report that most models rely on BECCS for keeping global warming within 2C. We therefore decided to research the science and debate around BECCS in detail and have now published the first ever comprehensive critical analysis of this concept:

Last-ditch climate option or wishful thinking: Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage

Read more


7. Biofuelwatch funding appeal: can you help?

The UK is burning more imported wood pellets for electricity than any other country in the world.  Many of those pellets come from the southern US, where biodiverse native wetland forests are under threat from the rush for biomass.

Forests which are home to thousands of plant and animal species, some of them found nowhere else on the planet, are being clearcut at a rapid pace and pellets made from those clearcut forests are being burned by Drax power station in England.  Yet Drax is on track to getting £1.8 million in subsidies every single day - paid by all of us via our electricity bills.

Biofuelwatch has been working hard to end this madness but we rely on support and funding to be able to do so.

Please consider making a donation to Biofuelwatch, to help us campaign against big biomass, and to push for subsidies to be granted instead to genuine low-carbon renewables. 

Thank you very much!

See here to read about our work in 2015.

Biofuelwatch 2015. Contact us:

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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

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