Dear Subscriber, this is the March 2016 edition of the Biofuelwatch newsletter, complete with an invitation for you to come to our April 20th #AxeDrax protest. There's also information about our new briefings on biomass sustainability standards & synthetic biology, and updates on our campaigns.
We hope you find this month's newsletter an engaging read!
In this newsletter:
Axe the Draxosaurus Draxotastic Demo April 20th 11am - 1pm
Bioenergy Out: EU declaration
NEW Biofuelwatch briefing: Sustainability Standards
Exposing misleading claims about synthetic biology 'saving orangutans'
NEW resources on Geoengineering and Synthetic Biology
Proposed 49.9 MW biomass gasification plant in Wales
Legal challenge against Enviva - Drax pellet supplier
Biofuel or Biofraud? The Vast Taxpayer Cost of Failed Cellulosic and Algal Biofuels
Take Action: Speak up for the regulation of new GM techniques
Diary Date - 4th June 2016: Extreme Energy event in Leeds
Interested in hosting a talk about the impacts of biomass power stations, biofuels or large-scale bioenergy in general? Please contact us and we'll try to help! You can also support our work by making a donation. Get in contact with us here to find out how to get involved in our campaigns, and what's going on near to you.
1. Axe the Draxosaurus Draxotastic Demo April 20th 11am - 1pm
By gathering en masse we can show the Government and Drax investors there is no social license and no support for their toxic polluting power station. It's time for the UK to abandon antiquated energy generation, Ditch the Draxosauraus, and invest in truly renewable wind, wave and sun energy.
We will be making dinosaur/power station props and banners at the London Action Resource Centre 10am - 7pm on Sun 10 April & 10am until late on Sat 16th April. LARC is at: 62 Fieldgate St, London E1 1ES.
On the 10th February, Biofuelwatch were one of 120 international civil society organisations and networks that published a declaration, calling for bioenergy to be excluded from the next EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED).
The declaration has now been submitted to an EU consultation into the renewal of the directive for 2020 onwards.
One is a policy analysis document, and the other is a briefing for MP's, jointly produced with the Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI). We encourage you to send a copy of the parliamentary briefing to your MP, details of how to contact your MP can be found here.
4. Exposing misleading claims about synthetic biology 'saving orangutans'
Over the past year or two, there has been a spate of articles claiming that synthetic biology – i.e. extreme genetic engineering – can replace palm oil and thus save the orangutan. We decided to have a closer look at those claims, which can be traced back to two sources: A Californian company called Solazyme, which changed its name to Terra Via this month, and academics involved in a UK research project into oil-producing yeast.
5. New resources on Geoengineering and Synthetic Biology
GeoengineeringMonitor.org and SynBioWatch.org are websites that aim to provide up-to-date news and analysis on these important issues, and act as a place to gather civic society perspectives and campaign information.
Biofuelwatch is working with ETC Group to make these websites useful resources to newcomers to the issues, as well as campaign groups already working on Geoengineering and Synthetic Biology. Both websites launched their own newsletters this month: you can sign up to receive them and read the first editions here: Geoengineering Monitor / Synbiowatch
6. Proposed 49.9 MW biomass gasification plant in Wales
No waste or biomass gasification plant for electricity generation has ever been successfully run in the UK. Despite this, newcomer Egnedol have stated an intention to build a 49.9 MW biomass gasification at Blackbridge in Milford Haven, in Pembrokeshire, on the west coast of Wales.
If you want to find out more about this high-risk, unproven technology please read Biofuelwatch's exposing report, available here and get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can participate in campaigning against this plant.
7. Legal challenge against Enviva - Drax pellet supplier
David Rose writing in the Mail on Sunday examines the case against Drax wood pellet supplier, Enviva, that the US based Partnership for Policy Integrity filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The PPI claim Enviva, used a loophole in EU and UK law to claim that wood-pellet fuel emits far less carbon dioxide than coal thereby misrepresenting emissions and environmental impacts.
Dorothy Thompson, the chief executive of Drax power station is also chair of the UK body who "certify" Enviva's sustainability criteria. No conflict of interest there then.
8. Biofuel or Biofraud?
The Vast Taxpayer Cost of Failed Cellulosic and Algal Biofuels
An article which we had published by Independent Science News looks at the promises and realities of 'advanced biofuels', particularly in the US.
It discusses a fraud investigation into a now bankrupt company, KiOR, who had sold the first ever cellulosic ethanol in the US, but not much ethanol after that. KiOR had obtained a $75m public loan guarantee from the State of Mississippi yet had only repaid $6m of that loan at the time they went bankrupt, leaving the poorest state of the US liable for the $69 million.
9. Take action: Speak up for the regulation of new GM techniques
We're supporting GM Freeze's online action on the regulation of new gene-editing and synthetic biology techniques. The European Commission is about to decide whether or not a set of new genetic engineering techniques should be regulated as GM. Let them know why they should and why it matters to you! You can take part in the action and find out more information here.
10. Date for your Diary: Extreme Energy event in Leeds, 4th June
Coal Action network, authors of the well researched report "Ditch Coal", are collaborating with Biofuelwatch on an interactive extreme energy event which will take place in Leeds on 4th June.
We are planning a veritable feast of energy information, combined with a unique opportunity to hear from a touring Russian activist about the devastating impacts of coal mining in his local community. While the focus of this event will be on bioenergy and coal, we intend to include a review of the broader remit of energy issues and provide opportunities for networking with activists working on issues such as fracking and nuclear.
Diary June 4th now and keep an eye on the Biofuelwatch and Coal Action facebook and twitter feeds for more information.