Masked forest flashmob targets world’s biggest biomass burners at conference in London

London, 18th April 2018 – A flashmob made up environmental, energy and climate justice campaigners has greeted the world’s largest biomass conference which is held at the Landmark Hotel in Marleybone, London from 17th to 19th April [1], in protest against an industry responsible for the destruction of forests, high carbon emissions and air pollution. Protesters, dressed in tree masks and evening gear, listened to speeches by Biofuelwatch [2] and Reclaim the Power [3] and to statements from representatives of communities affected by pellet plants in North Carolina, which are supplying Drax and power stations elsewhere in Europe.

Frances Howe of Biofuelwatch explains: “It’s crazy that the UK is an international leader in such a damaging new field in energy generation, yet virtually no one has heard of it. Burning trees for electricity in the middle of a climate crisis is clearly a bad idea. It’s time to expose the disastrous expansion of biomass power stations.”

In January, 800 scientists wrote to the European Parliament warning that felling trees for bioenergy “will increase carbon in the atmosphere and warming for decades to centuries …even when wood replaces coal, oil or natural gas. The reasons are fundamental and occur regardless of whether forest management is ‘sustainable’”[4].

Deepak Rughani from Biofuelwatch states: “If we want to have any chance of meeting the aim of the Paris Climate Agreement and keeping global warming to within 1.5oC, then have to not only stop burning fossil fuels but also protect the world’s remaining forest ecosystems rather than cut them down for burning or converting them to monoculture tree plantations. Big biomass, promoted at this conference, will make it impossible to stabilise the climate.”

Among the Conference delegates are representatives of the UK’s Drax Power Station, the biggest industrial burner of trees in the world, along with its pellet supplier Enviva, who have been shown to source pellets from the clearcutting of biodiverse coastal hardwood forests in the southern US, which lie at the heart of a global biodiversity hotspot [5]. German energy company RWE, representatives of the European Commission and Malaysian minsters will be among those in attendance [1] 

Photos

Photos available from biofuelwatch@gmail.com on request, or see our flickr page. Addtional photos available from Alamy

Notes
[1] See argusmedia.com/euro-biomass/

[2] Biofuelwatch is a non-profit organisation that undertakes research, campaigning and advocacy related to the impacts of large-scale bioenergy. Biofuelwatch campaigns for a fundamental reform to energy policy, based on energy conservation and efficiency and low-carbon no-burn renewable energy such as wind and solar power: biofuelwatch.org.uk .

[3] Reclaim the Power is a UK-based direct action network fighting for social, environmental and economic justice, which aims to build a broad-based movement, working in solidarity with frontline communities to effectively confront environmentally destructive industries and the social and economic forces driving climate change: reclaimthepower.org.uk/

[4] dropbox.com/s/l8sx5bl0h02x395/UPDATE%20800%20signatures_Scientist%20Letter%20on%20EU%20Forest%20Biomass.pdf?dl=0

[5]  
For evidence of the wholesale logging being carried out by Enviva, the biggest external supplier of Drax power station, see dogwoodalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/NRDC_2014-2017Booklet_DigitalVersion-resize.pdf and reports.climatecentral.org/pulp-fiction/2/   

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