Parliamentary Biomass Briefing

On 14 December 2016, Biofuelwatch organised a Briefing in Committee Room 10 in the House of Commons. It was co-hosted by Glyn Davies MP (Conservative, Environmental Audit Committee), Tommy Sheppard MP (SNP) and Caroline Lucas (Co-leader of the Green Party).

It featured presentations by Dr Mary Booth of the Partnership for Policy Integrity and Duncan Brack of Chatham House.

Mary Booth addressed why Biomass is high carbon and expensive. Duncan Brack dealt with the international carbon accounting loophole that means that most UK biomass, imported from the US and Canada should not be accounted ‘zero-carbon’.

Dr Mary Booth’s presentation can be found here The short New Scientist film that Dr Booth opened with is here (and the New Scientist article that accompanied it here).

Duncan Brack’s presentation is here. It summarises information contained in a soon to be published Chatham House report.

A diligent attender took excellent notes and has agreed to us sharing them here.

The Briefing was attended by MPs, industry (including Drax and the US Industrial Pellet Association), academia, NGOs and campaigners and members of the general public.


More information and links to relevant papers which were either mentioned or provided to attenders are below.

​For more information and context see our Biomass FAQs and the AxeDrax campaign background information.

Most of briefings that were on the table are available at our Biomass Resources webpage as well as Biofuelwatch reports and links to scientific reports on impacts of Biomass:

Mention was made of the Money to Burn? report that found that biomass is both high carbon and more expensive than wind and solar even when their intermittency costs are include. (short version 3 pages)

The Briefings included:

Biomass subsidies policy briefing (2 pages)

Biomass sustainability standards briefings (2 page and 4 page, more technical)

Biomass Sustainability Standards – a Credible Tool for Avoiding Negative Impacts from Large-scale Bioenergy?(2 pages)

UK Policy Recommendations on Biomass and Waste Incineration Biofuelwatch and UK Without Incineration Network (6 pages)

Public Health Impacts of Biomass (4 pages)

Bioenergy Out: Why bioenergy should not be included in the next EU Renewable Energy Directive (9 pages)

Dogwood Alliance evidence of whole tree harvesting for Biomass.

March 2016 Enviva sourcing investigation report (2 pages with photos)

May 2015 Enviva sourcing investigation report (2 pages with photos)

(referred to as ‘propaganda’ by Seth Ginther, Executive Director of, the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association)

See also Biofuelwatch’s report on Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) on which most IPCC modelling to achieve 1.5 or 2 degrees is based.