Dear Biofuelwatch supporters,
Welcome to our latest newsletter full of updates about campaigns that we – and you – have been supporting, and policy developments. Important reading for anyone who wants to see meaningful responses to climate change and who is concerned about protecting forests and the people and wildlife depending on them from pro-corporate false climate solutions.
In this update you will find:For anyone standing with forests, communities and the climate against pro-corporate, false climate solutions, check out the Biofuelwatch November newsletter for some inspiration:… Click To Tweet
1) This #ClimateElection, let’s make big biomass a big deal
On 12th December 2019 the UK will go to the polls again, and we have two major challenges on our hands – framing this General Election as a #ClimateElection, and ensuring big biomass is seen for what it is – a cause of the climate crisis, not a solution.
You can take immediate action on the first challenge by signing the petition for a televised climate and nature debate this election – the first of its kind if it went ahead.
This is a crucial time to be challenging the narratives of pro-corporate false climate solutions, so we need your help making local candidates aware of the impacts of biomass on forests, communities and the climate. We’ve got a handy election guide prepared here, and we’re asking supporters to call on their candidates to sign our election pledge to scrapping biomass subsidies, as well as going to local hustings and asking questions on biomass.
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If you have any questions or want to get more involved, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) Help US communities object to this mega wood pellet facility in Alabama
Enviva, the world’s largest wood pellet manufacturer, already destroys tens of thousands of acres of Southern US forests per year. Now they want to build 4 facilities in Alabama. Currently they have applied to build an enormous plant in Epes, Alabama.
If built, this plant would require 80 acres of forests to be cut down per day, turned into wood pellets, and shipped overseas to be burned for electricity in countries like the UK – the world’s biggest biomass importer. This would accelerate climate change, pollute local communities and fuel increasing forest loss. It’s bad all round.
Alabama has an opportunity to stop this industry before it is too late, but they need our help.
Please send a public comment by Nov. 15th to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and Governor Kay Ivey urging them to deny Enviva’s permit for a facility in Epes, Alabama.
If you are able to, please consider personalising your message to increase the chances of it reaching the department and being read. To submit a comment from outside the US, you can select ‘Other Countries’ in the action box.
3) #AxeDrax Protest – 9th October 2019
Thank you to everyone who joined us in London last month to call out Drax Power station and the impact it’s having on forests, communities and the climate.
Outside the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy we heard from coal, gas and biomass campaigners, climate strikers and the Environmental Justice Bloc, while stories were heard from those most affected by Drax’s burning, from the South eastern US (the main sourcing region for Drax’s woody biomass) to the Russian Kuzbass region, where entire villages have been destroyed and poisoned from coal mining. We even had a message of support sent to us from Bill McKibben!
The protest came shortly after Drax received Government permission to build the UK’s biggest gas power station, despite the planning inspector having recommended against it on climate change grounds. Our campaign against Drax continues as we focus on calling out its greenwashing attempts to market itself as a climate solution. Watch this space and if you want to get more involved in the Drax campaign, join our Drax Action List for specific actions!
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4) The COP25 climate summit
The COP25 climate summit, which was due to be held in Santiago, Chile, has been moved to Madrid instead in the wake of large-scale popular uprisings in Chile – moving the negotiation process yet further away from groups who are countering environmental injustice and monoculture tree plantations on their doorsteps.
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5) DRAX plan granted permission by BEIS
On 4th October, Drax Power Station was granted permission by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for its plan to replace its remaining coal-fired units with 3.6 GW capacity for fossil gas. This is despite the government’s own Planning Inspectorate advising the Secretary of State, Andrea Leadsom, against approving the proposal on climate change grounds:
“The Proposed Development would result in a significant increase in GHG emissions and would have a significantly adverse negative effect on climate change. The provision of CCS is not a practical option for the SoS to consider as a means of mitigation. Considerable weight is attached to this negative effect.”
While this is bad news for the climate and for environmental justice, we will continue to work with our allies in opposing Drax and its burning of biomass and fossil fuels. Drax will need substantial new subsidies for burning gas and investment for this development to be completed. Contact us if you would like to get involved in the campaign, and watch this space for more updates.
6) Dutch community campaigners mobilise against biomass plants and subsidies
While the UK continues to import and burn more wood pellets than any other country in the world, a wood burning in power plants is increasing across many European countries. The most rapid expansion right now is happening in the Netherlands, where it is also incentivised by subsidies.
Last year, less than 200,000 tonnes of wood pellets were burned in the Netherlands. Over the next year, a minimum of 3.5 million tonnes will be co-fired with coal in four power stations. If energy companies have their way, this is only the beginning: RWE, operators of two Dutch coal power stations wants to eventually burn 7.5 tonnes of pellets in those plants alone, to avoid having to shut them down as part of the Dutch coal phaseout. At the same time, around 200 smaller biomass plants have been built and another 200 are in the pipeline. Altogether, wood burning attracts almost €11 billion in renewable energy subsidies, money that should be going to genuinely low carbon wind and solar power and energy conservation and efficiency.
The good news is that wood burning for energy is facing strong and growing opposition. This summer, several very active community groups against different local biomass plants came together to form a Federation Against Biomass Plants which campaigns against biomass subsidies and plants. At the same time, a Dutch NGO called Mobilisation for the Environment has started lawsuits against the planning permit for the largest of the coal power plants burning biomass, and against that for the largest of all proposed local biomass plants (in Diemen, next to Amsterdam). This autumn, campaigners have succeeded in raising huge media awareness of the problem around biomass and are starting to put real pressure on policymakers to stop the subsidies!
7) Global Climate Strike
On September 20th, we saw unprecedented numbers taking to the streets all over the world to demand climate justice from our governments. With thousands joining strikes in the UK, and 7 million in the rest of the world, these numbers show that the tide has turned on climate justice.
The next Global Climate Strike will be on Friday 29th November and everyone is invited!
This will be directly before the UN climate talks, which have now been moved to Madrid from Chile. It will also be just before the UK general election on 12 December. This Global Climate Strike is an important opportunity for us in the UK to stand in solidarity with young people and their call for urgent action on climate change, particularly as most climate strikers will be unable to vote in the coming election.
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